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US First Lady to meet US troops, Ukrainian refugees during Romania, Slovakia trip

Dr. Jill Biden speaks with military families outside of a private residence in Norfolk on Sept. 24, 2020. (Jonathon Gruenke/Daily Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. first lady Jill Biden will visit Romania and Slovakia from May 5-9 to meet U.S. service members and embassy personnel, Ukrainian refugees, humanitarian aid workers, and teachers, her office said on May 2.

NATO and EU members Romania and Slovakia have taken in hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.

Biden’s trip follows U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Kyiv at the weekend. Pelosi met with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on April 30.

During her trip, Biden will visit U.S. service members in Romania on May 6 before heading to Bucharest, where on May 7 she will meet with members of the Romanian government, U.S. Embassy staff, and teachers working with displaced Ukrainian children, the statement from her office said.

Her trip also includes a visit to the Slovak capital, Bratislava, to meet with U.S. Embassy staff and government officials.

Almost 5.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on February 24, according to the UN’s refugee agency.

Just over 3 million fled to Poland, while Romania has taken in 817,000 and Slovakia nearly 372,000, as of April 29.

U.S. President Joe Biden has proposed a $33 billion package for arming and supporting Ukraine.