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Jill Biden will meet Ukrainian refugees in Romania, Slovakia on Mother’s Day -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO. The U.S. First Ladies Jill Biden and her husband listen to the White House Correspondents Association Dinner, Washington, U.S.A, April 30, 2022. REUTERS/Al Drago

By Alexandra Alper

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The first lady of the United States Jill Biden will depart Washington Thursday to make a quick tour through Romania and Slovakia in order to emphasize America’s support for Ukrainian refugees during Mother’s Day Weekend.

Her office stated that the wife of President Joe Biden would meet U.S. personnel and embassy personnel as well as displaced Ukrainian children and parents, humanitarian aid workers, and teachers on this four-day visit.

Biden, who teaches English and writing at a community college in Virginia, will also meet Romania’s first lady, Carmen Iohannis, an English teacher, as well as the president of Slovakia Zuzana Caputova.

Biden will be meeting with Ukrainian mothers and children fleeing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine on Sunday. This is Mother’s Day in America, according to her office.

Although they have limited policy-making power in the United States, wives of presidents often play a role of “soft power”, delivering an administration’s messages to voters at home and overseas.

U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken (defense secretary), and Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, paid visits in Kyiv to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zeleskiy. In March, President Biden visited Poland.

Around 840,000 Ukrainians have fled their homeland to Romania while only 80,000 of them remain. Although 2,000 Ukrainian students are currently enrolled at Romanian schools, state television will broadcast weekly lessons in Ukrainian language for children starting Friday.

Over 380,000 Ukrainians arrived in Slovakia during the conflict, although many more traveled to European countries. This country is a staunch supporter of Ukraine and has provided shipping assistance, weapons and even its only battery for the Soviet-era S-300 anti-air defense system.

Biden’s assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Karen Donfried and Curtis Ried, senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council Curtis Ried and Daniel Dieckhaus are among those who accompany him.