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European Leaders Risk Train Ride to Kyiv in Show of Solidarity to Ukraine

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The Slovenian, Polish and Czech prime ministers, together with Poland’s ruling party leader, took the long journey from Warsaw. Credit: Twitter/Mateusz Morawiecki

Three European leaders made a long and hazardous journey by rail from Poland to Ukraine on Tuesday in a show of support as Kyiv came under further Russian attack.

The prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic met Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday evening as a curfew began in Kyiv.

Afterward, the Czech leader told Ukrainians that they are “not alone”. The group are the first Western leaders to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded.

“We admire your brave fight,” Petr Fiala wrote in a tweet. “We know that you’re also fighting for our lives. You’re not alone, our countries stand by your side.”

Poland’s Mateusz Morawiecki said that Europe would never be the same if it lost Ukraine. Instead, he wrote, it would be a “defeated, humiliated and pathetic version of its former self”.

Zelensky: European leaders visit to Ukraine a “powerful testimony of support”

In footage of the meeting posted on social media, Zelensky was heard briefing the EU leaders on the latest military and humanitarian situation and the negotiations with Russia.

“They are shelling everywhere,” Zelensky is heard telling them. “Not only Kyiv but also the western areas.”

He also informed the Czech, Polish and Slovenian prime ministers, Fiala, Mateusz Morawiecki and Janez Janša, that three Chechen brigades had been identified among the Russian forces.

Zelensky expressed gratitude for their visit, calling it a “powerful testimony of support”.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on Twitter that “devastating” sanctions against Russia had been discussed, including the “recognition of Russia as a sponsor of terrorism”.

As the talks took place, loud explosions could be heard across Kyiv from fighting on the western edge of the capital.

The European Union said the politicians were not carrying any particular mandate, but that leaders in Brussels were aware of the trip, as it was mentioned during an informal EU summit in Versailles, France, last week.

Poland’s deputy foreign minister Marcin Przydacz admitted the trip was risky, but said it was “worth taking for the sake of values”. He said they had told the Russians the visit was taking place.

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