The First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden, travelled to Europe to reaffirm Washington's commitment to Ukraine.
Jill Biden, the wife of the US President Joe Biden paid a visit to Eastern Europe last week, to show support for the Ukrainian refugees. Her first stop was Romania. At the Mihail Kogalniceanu military base she visited the American troops stationed there. After having attended a briefing organised by the US Embassy, on the topic of humanitarian efforts made by the UN, NGOs and the Romanian Government, Jill Biden, who has kept her job as a teacher in the US, visited a public school hosting refugees. She was accompanied by the wife of the Romanian President, Carmen Iohannis, herself a teacher. "We stand with you," Jill Biden said after listening to the heartbreaking stories of the Ukrainian mothers and children who fled Russian invasion and took shelter in Romania. The American First Lady defined as "formidable" the show of solidarity and said she was inspired by the Romanians who took refugees in their homes, offering them food, clothing, shelter and their hearts. She warned, however, that "it was only the beginning", and said the US and the allies need to do more to help Ukraine. In her turn, Carmen Iohannis said she always knew the Romanian people was hospitable, and also mentioned the efforts made by the authorities to help the refugees.
Romanian state counsellor Madalina Turza also discussed with Jill Biden, whom she presented the strategy for the humanitarian crisis of the Ukrainian refugees. Romania is home to hundreds of thousands of children, women and old people who fled war and the effort made by the Romanians during this period will remain a symbol of the solidarity and wisdom of a nation that has opened, for its neighbours, the door to peace and liberty, Romanian PM Nicolae Ciuca said.
Jill Biden's visit to Romania took place less than two months after that of the American vice-president Kamala Harris. From Bucharest, Jill Biden travelled to Eastern Slovakia, to visit the American soldiers dispatched there, as well as the women and children who fled Russian invasion. She talked to the refugee families, the volunteers and the local staff at a refugee centre in Kosice, one of the main transit points for over 400,000 Ukrainian refugees who have crossed the border with Slovakia since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.
During an unannounced visit, Jill Biden's motorcade briefly crossed the Slovakian border with Ukraine, entering an active war zone, a rare move for an incumbent First Lady. She did that to meet with the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, in a school close to the border. She said the visit coincided with Mother's Day, celebrated in many parts of the world, and was aimed at showing support for the Ukrainian people. More than 5.8 million Ukrainians have fled their country after the Russian invasion. (EE)