Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. First Lady Jill Biden made surprise visits to Ukraine on May 8. Trudeau met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and raised the flag at the reopened Canadian embassy in Kyiv. Jill Biden met with Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska in the city of Uzhhorod, near the border with Slovakia.

"Today, Canada sends a resounding message to the world that we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and its people," said a statement from Trudeau's office. It noted that the Canadian leader had taken part in a flag raising ceremony marking the reopening of the country's embassy in Kyiv.

The office said that Trudeau had "witnessed firsthand the reckless brutality" carried out by the forces of Russian President Vladimir Putin during the War in Ukraine.

More Canadian aid to Ukraine

Trudeau's office said Canada was giving Ukraine the following additional aid:

  • Military assistance worth $50 million. This would include ammunition for M777 horowitzers, 18 drone cameras, satellite imagery worth $15 million and about $1 million worth of small arms and ammunition.
  • Humanitarian aid totaling $25 million to address food insecurity.
  • Another $10 million in funding to support human rights, civic organizations and the removal of land mines.

The entire statement can be viewed at the prime minister's official website.

Jill Biden in a war zone

NPR reported that Jill Biden's trip to Ukraine had lasted roughly two hours. The broadcaster said Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska had come out of hiding to meet with Biden in the southwestern city of Uzhhorod. The meeting had been the first time for an American First Lady to visit a war zone since Michelle Obama's 2015 trip to Qatar, NPR said.

"On this Mother’s Day, my heart is with you, First Lady Olena Zelenska, and all of the brave and resilient mothers of Ukraine," Biden said on Twitter. The New York Times quoted Biden as saying "I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop, and this war has been brutal."

The meeting had taken place on the grounds of a school that had been used to assist Ukrainians displaced by the war, the paper said.

Before the visit to Ukraine, Biden had been to Romania and Slovakia to meet Ukrainian refugees, the paper said.

Zelensky honors bomb-sniffing dog

At a press conference with Trudeau, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky presented a medal to a dog for its work sniffing out land mines left by retreating Russians, according to The Washington Post. The paper noted that the use of antipersonnel land mines had been banned by 160 countries since the signing of the Ottawa Convention in 1997. However, Russia and the United States had not been among the signatories, the paper said.