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First Lady Jill Biden Will Spend Mother’s Day with Displaced Ukrainian Families

Jill Biden


Dr. Jill Biden will travel to Romania and Slovakia on Thursday, spending five days in the region to meet with US service members, embassy personnel, humanitarian aid workers and Ukrainians displaced amid the Russian invasion.

According to a White House, the first lady’s trip will kick off at the Mihail Kogalniceau Airbase in Romania, where she will meet with military service members before traveling to Bucharest.

On Saturday, Biden, 70 – a longtime educator – will meet with members of the Romanian government, US embassy staff, humanitarian aid workers and “educators who are helping to teach displaced Ukrainian children and incorporate them into a stable and safe school environment.”

The White House says she will then spend Mother’s Day “with Ukrainian mothers and children who have been forced to flee their home country because of[[Vladimir]Putin‘s war. “

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Russia attack on Ukraine – which kicked off the first major land conflict in Europe in decades after its forces launched a large-scale invasion on Feb. 24 – has spurred millions within the country to flee.

The United Nations estimates that more than 5.6 million Ukrainians have escaped to neighboring countries since the war began. The agency says another 6.5 million people are likely displaced within the war-torn country itself.

As of Tuesday, the UN says that Romania has taken in approximately 846,521 Ukrainians, while Slovakia has taken in 385,284.

More than 90 percent of those who have left the country are women and children due to Ukraine’s ban on fighting-age men, 18 to 60, leaving the country.

RLATED: Orlando Bloom Recounts Trip to Meet Refugees from War-Torn Ukraine: ‘Something I Will Never Forget’

Details of the fighting change by the day, but thousands of civilians have already been reported dead or woundedincluding children.

“You don’t know where to go, where to run, who you have to call. This is just panic,” Liliya Marynchak, a 45-year-old teacher in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, told PEOPLE of the moment her city was bombed – one of the numerous accounts of bombardment by the Russians.

The invasion, ordered by Russian President Putin, has drawn condemnation around the world and increasingly severe economic sanctions against Russia.

NATO forces have amassed in the region around Ukraine, and various countries have also pledged aid or military support to the resistance. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for peace talks – so far unsuccessful – while urging his country to fight back.

Putin insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia and he is acting in the best security interests of his country. Zelenskyy vowed not to bend.

“Nobody is going to break us, we’re strong, we’re Ukrainians,” he told the European Union in a speech in the early days of the fighting, adding, “Life will win over death. And light will win over darkness.”

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE’s complete coverage of the war hereincluding stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.

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