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Czech, Polish and Slovenian leaders head home after daring visit to Kyiv


Prague, Czech Republic – The Polish, Slovenian and Czech Prime Ministers are returning home after travelling to Kyiv on Tuesday in an audacious and risky show of support to Ukraine.

PMs Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland, Petr Fiala of Czech Republic, and Janez Janša of Slovenia, along with Polish deputy-PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski, yesterday embarked on a perilous three-hour train journey to besieged Kyiv to meet with the Ukrainian leadership.

Arriving in the Ukrainian capital late afternoon yesterday, the EU and NATO leaders were the first foreign heads of state or government to come to Kyiv since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24.

According to a statement released by the Polish government earlier on Tuesday, the three leaders acted as representatives of the European Council. Their visit was meant to express “the unequivocal support of the entire European Union for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine” and “present a broad package of support for Ukraine and Ukrainians”.

Although confirming that they had been informed of the trip, EU officials slightly distanced themselves from the initiative and denied the three Central European leaders had an official EU mandate.

In Kyiv, where Russia’s sustained shelling continued and several casualties were reported on Tuesday, they met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

Explosions could be heard across the city as the meeting took place, and a curfew was introduced by mayor Vitali Klitschko until at least Thursday morning.

Thanking them for this unprecedented show of solidarity, Zelensky said that their visit was “a powerful expression of support for Ukraine”.

“With allies like this we will win the war,” the President, who briefed the Central European leaders on the military and humanitarian situation in the country, told reporters.

PM Shmyhal declared that “devastating” sanctions against Russia were discussed during the meeting, and Poland’s de-facto leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski called for an international peacekeeping mission to be deployed in Ukraine.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.