Show of support: Jill Biden, Trudeau make unannounced trips to Ukraine

In high-profile display of solidarity with Ukraine on the eve of a key Russian military holiday, Jill Biden, the first lady, made an unannounced visit to western Ukraine on Sunday. Canada PM Justin Trudeau also made an unannounced visit, travelling to view the devastation in the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, officials said. The events served to demonstrate the depth of support for Ukraine by the US and other nations in the face of Russia’s invasion.
Jill Biden travelled under the cloak of secrecy, becoming the latest high-profile American to enter Ukraine during its 10-week-old conflict with Russia. She held a surprise Mother’s Day meeting with Ukraine first lady Olena Zelenska to show US support for the embattled nation. “I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” the US first lady told Zelenska. “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 US stand with the people of Ukraine.”
Biden spent about two hours in Ukraine, travelling by vehicle to the town of Uzhhorod, about a 10-minute drive from a Slovakian border village where she had toured a border processing facility. Zelenska thanked Biden for her “courageous act”. The two first ladies came together in a small classroom, sitting across a table from one another and greeting each other in front of reporters before they met in private. Zelenska and her children have been at an undisclosed location for their safety.
Trudeau made a surprise visit to Irpin, which had been damaged by Russia’s attempt to take Kyiv at the start of the war, according to Ukrainian media outlet Suspilne and Irpin Mayor Olexander Markushyn. Trudeau later held a joint a news conference with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv and announced new weapons and equipment for Ukraine was said Canada was imposing new sanctions on Russian individuals and entities.
“Today, I’m announcing more military assistance, drone cameras, satellite imagery, small arms, ammunition and other support, including funding for demining operations,” Trudeau said. He also said Canada was reopening its embassy in the Ukrainian capital. Trudeau is the latest Western leader to visit Ukraine to offer their support. The PMs of the UK, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia travelled there earlier, as did the UN’s secretary-general.
Zelenskyy also met with the German parliament speaker, Bärbel Bas, in Kyiv on Sunday to commemorate victims of WWII, discuss arms and Ukraine’s ambition to be considered for EU membership.