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Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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U.S. first lady Jill Biden visits Ukrainian refugee students

U.S. first lady Jill Biden met on Saturday (May 7) with Ukrainian refugee schoolchildren and their mothers in Romania, as part of a tour of nations neighboring Ukraine and providing humanitarian assistance.

Biden visited a Romanian public school hosting Ukrainian refugee students, accompanied by Romanian first lady, Carmen Iohannis. They were welcomed into the classrooms and circulated among the students, chatting with them. The school has two classrooms for Ukrainian students ages five through fifteen where they are taught by Ukrainian teachers. The children, however, play and interact with Romanian students during free time and after school activities.

Biden and Iohannis then met with Ukrainian mothers, listening to their stories and offering support. The day ended with the schoolchildren serenading the two first ladies with the Romanian national anthem and a Ukrainian military march.

More than 840,000 Ukrainians have fled to Romania, and around 80,000 remain. State television will air weekly language lessons for children from Friday, although only 2,000 Ukrainian children are enrolled in Romanian schools.

Biden will next travel to Slovakia where she also meet with Ukrainian refugees. The trip is aimed at highlighting the U.S. commitment to Ukrainian refugees, according to Biden’s office. More than 380,000 Ukrainians have crossed into Slovakia since the beginning of the war, but most journeyed further on to other European countries. Slovakia has been a strong supporter of Ukraine, shipping aid and weapons including its sole battery of the Soviet-era S-300 air defense system.

Production: Kristin Neubauer

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