US first lady Jill Biden has made an unannounced visit to western Ukraine, holding a surprise meeting with her Ukrainian counterpart Olena Zelensky.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian media has reported that Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau also made an unannounced visit to the country.
Mrs. Biden travelled in secret for security, as the country is still being ravaged by Russia’s invasion which has now lasted ten weeks.
She told Mrs Zelensky: ‘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 United States stand with the people of Ukraine.’
The first lady travelled by vehicle to the town of Uzhhorod, about a 10-minute drive from a Slovakian village that borders Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Mr Trudeau was pictured standing in front of buildings destroyed in bombing, as he spoke to people affected by the war, now mainly being waged in the east of the country.
His surprise visit was to Irpin, a suburb of the capital Kyiv that was previously targeted by Russian fighters.
The Ukrainian president’s wife thanked Mrs Biden for her ‘courageous act’ and said: ‘We understand what it takes for the US first lady to come here during a war when military actions are taking place every day, where the air sirens are happening every day – even today.’
President Joe Biden said during a visit to Poland in March that he was disappointed he could not visit Ukraine to see conditions ‘first hand’ but that he was not allowed, probably due to security reasons.
The White House said as recently as last week that the president ‘would love to visit but there were no plans for him to do so.