Administration

Jill Biden calls on Putin to end ‘senseless and brutal war’ after Mother’s Day trip to Ukraine

Jill Biden
Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine after visiting the country during a four-day trip to eastern Europe.

“Mr. Putin, please end this senseless and brutal war,” Biden wrote in a CNN op-ed published on Wednesday.

Biden visited Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine over Mother’s Day weekend. While in the first two countries, she met with women and children who had fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.

She then met with Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, while in Ukraine. The surprise meeting over the border marked the first time President Zelensky’s wife had been seen publicly since the start of the war more than two months ago.

“Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukraine’s President, came out of hiding, leaving her own children, to visit with me and ask for help for the people of her country,” Biden said. “She didn’t ask me for food or clothing or weapons. She asked me to help her get mental health care for all those suffering from the effects of Vladimir Putin’s senseless and brutal war.”

She said Zelenska told her about women and children who had been raped during the war, children who were shot and killed, and homes that were burned.

“’I want to return home quickly,’ she told me. ‘I only want to hold the hands of my children,’” Biden recalled. “We wished each other Happy Mother’s Day. I told her I was in Ukraine to show Ukrainian mothers that we were standing with them, and I was carrying the hearts of the American people with me.”

Biden also reflected on her time visiting with mothers and children who are refugees in Ukraine’s neighboring counties.

“Something is missing – laughter, a common language among women,” she said. “The Ukrainian mothers at the Romanian and Slovak schools I visited told me about the horrors of the bombs that fell night after night as they sought to find refuge during their journey westward. Many had to live days without food and sunlight, harbored in basements underground.”

She mentioned a mother in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, who told her when families went outside to find food, Russian soldiers would shoot into the lines of people waiting.

She also recalled that the Ukrainian mothers were grateful to Romania and Slovakia for the countries’ support and reflected on stories she heard from border guards, who told her about children crossing the border alone or pets making the trip with refugees.

“You cannot go into a war zone and not come away unchanged. You don’t have to see the sorrow with your eyes because you can feel it with your heart,” Biden said.

Tags Jill Biden Jill Biden Olena Zelenska Olena Zelenska Russia-Ukraine conflict Slovakia Ukraine Ukrainian refugees Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video