Administration

Jill Biden will travel to Romania, Slovakia to meet with Ukrainian refugees

Jill Biden
FILE – First lady Jill Biden speaks during the 2022 National and State Teachers of the Year event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2022. The White House announced Sunday, May 1 that Biden will spend Mother’s Day meeting with Ukrainian mothers and children who fled for their lives after Russian President Vladimir Putin opened war against Ukraine. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

First lady Jill Biden is set to travel to Romania and Slovakia later this month to meet with U.S. service members and Ukrainian refugees, becoming the latest Biden administration official to visit the region around Ukraine as the country fights off a continued Russian military assault.  

The White House announced late Sunday that Biden would travel to the region on May 5 and would meet with U.S. service members, embassy personnel, humanitarian aid workers and government officials from Romania and Slovakia over the course of four days.  

The trip will be the first lady’s second solo trip abroad, after she attended the Olympics in Japan last year.  

She will follow a slew of Biden administration officials and members of Congress who have traveled to eastern Europe in recent weeks to showcase U.S. support for its allies as Ukraine battles the Russian war.  

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a surprise visit to Ukraine over the weekend to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, becoming the highest-level U.S. official to make the risky trip inside the country as it battles the war. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also recently traveled to Ukraine. Biden is not scheduled to enter Ukraine, though the White House would not advertise such a stop in advance even if it were to happen.

According to the White House advisory, Biden will first stop in Romania to meet with U.S. service members at Mihail Kogalniceanu  Airbase.  

She’ll then meet with Romanian officials and embassy staff at the U.S. embassy in Bucharest. Biden, who is herself a teacher, will also meet with humanitarian aid workers and educators working with Ukrainian teens displaced by the conflict in Romania.  

In Slovakia, Biden will meet with refugees, humanitarian aid workers and other locals helping refugees in Kosice and Vysne Nemecke. The White House said that Biden would meet with Ukrainian mothers and children May 8 to mark Mother’s Day, which falls on the Sunday during her trip. 

The first lady is scheduled to meet with Slovakian officials before heading back to Washington.  

More than 5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded the country over two months ago. Many of those refugees have entered Poland and other surrounding countries. Romania and Slovakia have taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine.  

President Biden also met with Ukrainian refugees in Poland as part of a broader trip to Europe in March focused on responding to the Russian war.  

–Updated at 7:44 a.m.

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