Jill Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Sunday (May 8) to meet with the nation’s First Lady Olena Zelenska, wife of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The United States First Lady crossed the border from Slovakia into the Ukraine under a shroud of secrecy to show solidarity for the war-torn country that is continuing to fight against Russia’s devastating invasion.
“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” Biden told Zelenska, per NBC News. “I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop and this war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”
Zelenska, who has not been seen in public since the invasion began, called the visit “courageous,” according to the outlet. “We understand what it takes for the U.S. first lady to come here during a war, where the military actions are taking place every day, where the air raid sirens are happening every day — even today,” she said. “We all feel your support. We all feel the leadership of the U.S president. But we would like to note that Mother’s Day is a very symbolic day for us. Because we also feel your love and support during such an important day.”
The two dignitaries met in the western city of Uzhhorod in a classroom whose school has been turned into a shelter for Ukranian migrants. Biden and Zelenska were joined by a group of children living at the school and together they made tissue-paper bears to give as Mother’s Day gifts, according to the outlet.
Biden’s meeting was part of a four-day trip to Eastern Europe and comes after Nancy Pelosi led a delegation last week to Ukraine, making the House Speaker the highest-ranking US government official to visit the country since Russia’s invasion more than two months ago.
Following the meeting in Kyiv, Zelensky awarded Pelosi a Ukrainian civil honor called the Order of Princess Olga, which is bestowed upon women who have made outstanding contributions to the country and achieved success in politics. The medal was given to highlight Pelosi’s “significant personal contribution” to strengthening American/Ukrainian ties and “supporting sovereign, independent and democratic Ukraine,” read a statement from the Ukrainian government. Zelensky reportedly gifted Pelosi a Ukrainian flag signed by him and female members of the Ukrainian Parliament as well.Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.