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Jill Biden to Ukrainian mom: Russia war 'hard to understand'

First lady Jill Biden gets a hug from Ukrainian refugee Yulie Kutocha, 7, as her mother Victorie Kutocha, watches at right, during a visit to a city-run refugee center in Kosice, Slovakia, Sunday, May 8, 2022.
Susan Walsh
/
AP
First lady Jill Biden gets a hug from Ukrainian refugee Yulie Kutocha, 7, as her mother Victorie Kutocha, watches at right, during a visit to a city-run refugee center in Kosice, Slovakia, Sunday, May 8, 2022.

KOSICE, Slovakia — U.S. first lady Jill Biden spent Mother's Day in Slovakia, meeting with Ukrainian mothers who have been displaced by Russia's war and assuring them that the "hearts of the American people" are behind them.

At a bus station in the city of Kosice that is now a 24-hour refugee processing center, Biden found herself in an extended conversation with an emotional Ukrainian woman who said she struggles to explain the war to her three children because she cannot even explain it to herself.

"I cannot explain because I don't know myself and I'm a teacher," Viktoriia Kutocha, who had her arms around her 7-year-old daughter, Yulia, told Biden.

At one point, Kutocha asked "why?" seeming to seek an explanation for Russia's decision to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24.

'It's so hard to understand," the first lady replied.

The 24-hour facility is one of six refugee centers in Slovakia, providing an average of 300 to 350 people daily with food, showers, clothing, emergency on-site accommodations and other services, according to information provided by the White House.

Biden, wearing a flower corsage on her wrist — a Mother's Day gift from President Joe Biden — also dropped in at a Slovakian public school that has taken in displaced students.

Slovakian and Ukrainian moms were brought together at the school for a Mother's Day event while their children made crafts to give them as gifts.

Biden went from table to table meeting the mothers and kids. She told some of the women that she wanted to come "and say the hearts of the American people are with the mothers of Ukraine."

"I just wanted to come and show you our support," she said before departing for the border village of Vysne Nemecke to tour its border processing facility.

Biden is on a four-day visit to Eastern Europe to highlight U.S. support for Ukrainian refugees and for the allied countries, like Romania and Slovakia, that are providing a safe haven for them.

She spent Friday and Saturday in Romania, visiting with U.S. troops and meeting with Ukrainian refugee mothers and children.

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The Associated Press