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Jill Biden calls Ukraine's first lady 'the heart of a nation at war'

U.S. first lady Jill Biden praised Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska in the newly published feature in Time Magazine, calling her a “warrior for the people of Ukraine.”

Zelenska was featured in the magazine’s annual listicle of the 100 most influential people in the world — in a piece written by Biden.

“A writer who worked behind the scenes, she never asked for a spotlight,” she wrote of Zelenska. “A mother of two, she never asked to become the heart of a nation at war.”

Biden describes her first meeting with Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in May 2022 for Mother’s Day — just a few months after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February of that year.

“Instinctively, we embraced — two mothers, two nations, coming together for peace,” Biden wrote. “In the strain of her smile, I could see the weight she carried: the sleep lost to the percussion of falling bombs, the tales of atrocities that she would never forget.”

“In her eyes, however, was the fierce determination and dignity that has defined her people,” she added.

Biden commended Zelenska for staying in Ukraine during the war, writing that she could “take her family and flee.”

“Yet, she stays,” Biden said. “She stays because freedom and democracy deserve defenders.”

Biden ended the feature by calling Zelenska a “protector. The pride of her nation. A beacon of hope for the people she loves.”

The two first ladies met again at the White House in July 2022 to discuss how the U.S. could provide aid for mental health issues faced by women and children living through Russia’s war in Ukraine, which they also talked about in their initial meeting.

Source: The Hill

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