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Ukraine’s First Lady meets with Jill Biden on second day of US visit

Ms Zelenska’s meeting with First Lady Jill Biden this week marks the second time the two women have met since Russia invaded Ukraine in February

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Tuesday 19 July 2022 21:16 BST
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President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden greet Olena Zelenska, spouse of Ukrainian's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden greet Olena Zelenska, spouse of Ukrainian's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP)
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Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska received an unexpected greeting and a gift of flowers from President Joe Biden when she emerged from her vehicle during a visit to the White House on Tuesday, the second day of her trip to the US.

Ms Zelenska arrived in the US on Monday at Joint Base Andrews for a series of meetings with US officials. She will also deliver an address to members of Congress on Wednesday.

The Ukrainian first lady’s visit to the White House was for a bilateral meeting with First Lady Jill Biden, the second such meeting between the two head-of-state spouses since Russia invaded Ukraine. The pair previously met on Mother’s Day when Dr Biden travelled to Kyiv.

“So ever since I saw you Mother’s Day … one of the things that I said when I came back was you cannot go into a war zone come back and [not] feel the sorrow and pain,” said Dr Biden at the start of their meeting, as per Reuters.

Dr Biden also reportedly added that Ms Zelenska was there to talk about “mental health issues,” a matter her entire team had been working on since her visit to Kyiv.

On Monday, Ms Zelenska met with Secretery of State Antony Blinken, and with Ambassador Samantha Power, the head of the US Agency for International Development, which has already given Ukraine’s government billions of dollars in support since the Russian invasion began in February.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Mr Blinken communicated assurances of the US government’s commitment to supporting Ukraine. Mr Blinken and Ms Zelenska did not participate in a scheduled photo session with reporters because her trip to Washington is not as an official representative of the government her husband leads.

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