Faz.net – The journey is risky, the mode of transport unusual. The heads of government of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia traveled by train to Kiev on Tuesday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj. In this way, they want to signal their support for Ukraine’s fight for freedom and present a package of concrete aid for the country under attack from Russia.
In the evening, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reported. “Here, in war-torn Kiev, history is being made,” he writes on Twitter. And posts pictures that showed him with his deputy Jaroslaw Kaczynski, as well as Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and his Slovenian counterpart Janez Jansa at a table with a map of Ukraine. Where exactly they originated is unclear. Ukrainian Prime Minister Demys Shmyhal praised the trio’s courage. “The courage of Ukraine’s true friends,” Shmyhal wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj posted a video on Telegram late Tuesday night showing him, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Czech government leader Petr Fiala and his Slovenian counterpart Janez Jansa with other participants in the conversation in a windowless room. “Your visit to Kiev at this difficult time for Ukraine is a strong sign of support. We really appreciate it,” Selenskyj said.
Kiev has been hit repeatedly by Russian missiles since the war began. Mayor Vitali Klitschko has just imposed a curfew from Tuesday evening until Thursday morning after further heavy attacks. Many residents of the city are holding out in bunkers and shelters.
Flying to the embattled Ukrainian capital is unthinkable under these conditions. It is also not an ideal destination for political celebrities at the moment. And so it comes as a surprise when Poland’s government spokesman Piotr Müller announced on Tuesday morning that a train carrying the four top politicians was on its way to Kiev and had already crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border.
From the opposite direction overcrowded trains with refugees
The trip had been planned “under the strictest secrecy,” Warsaw said. The itinerary also remains top secret for now. In the evening, Morawiecki’s chancellery chief Michal Dworczyk only revealed that the special train had left from Przemysl. The station of the eastern Polish city has a track in Russian broad gauge, which is also laid in Ukraine. Overcrowded trains arrive there constantly from the opposite direction. They bring thousands of desperate people fleeing war from Ukraine.
The visit was closely coordinated with EU Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, says Poland’s government spokesman: “The delegation de facto represents the European Union, the European Council.” EU circles, on the other hand, say there is no official mandate from the European Council, as no decision has been formally taken by the 27 EU countries. According to Michel’s spokesman, von der Leyen and Michel themselves were informed about a possible meeting on the sidelines of an EU summit at the end of last week.