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US first lady makes unannounced visit to Ukraine

First Lady Jill Biden, left, greets Olena Zelenska, spouse of Ukrainian's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, outside School 6, a public school that has taken in displaced students in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, Sunday, May 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)
First Lady Jill Biden, left, greets Olena Zelenska, spouse of Ukrainian's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, outside School 6, a public school that has taken in displaced students in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, Sunday, May 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

US First Lady Jill Biden has made an unannounced visit to Ukraine, her spokesman says, meeting her Ukrainian counterpart Olena Zelenska at a school sheltering civilians including children displaced by the conflict.

“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day. 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,” Biden tells reporters.

A US official on the visit also says it was Zelenska’s first public appearance since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Zelenska thanked Biden “for this very courageous act.”

“Because we understand what it takes for the US first lady to come here during a war when the military actions are taking place every day, where the air sirens are happening every day even today,” she tells Biden.

“We also feel your love and support during such an important day,” the Ukrainian First Lady says.

Following a meeting behind closed doors, the first ladies join local children in a classroom crafting cardboard and tissue paper bears as presents for their mothers.

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