(WARSAW, Poland) — The leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia are traveling to Kyiv on a European Union mission Tuesday to meet with Ukraine’s top leadership as Russia’s offensive moved closer to the center of the capital.
As a result of a string of attacks on a Kyiv residential area, the three leaders from the EU and NATO visited.
Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish Prime Minister, announced that he would be joined by Petr Fiala from the Czech Republic and Janez Jasa from Slovenia. Joining them is Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland’s deputy prime minister for security but also the leader of the conservative ruling party, Law and Justice, a position which allows him to be the most powerful politician in Poland.
They will be meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minster Denys Shmyhal.
Morawiecki posted on Facebook, that he, the other leaders, were traveling in accordance with the European Union. This was citing Charles Michel, chairman of the Council of the European Union and Ursula von der Leyen (head of the European Commission), as well. According to him, the United Nations was informed about the visit.
“In such critical times for the world it is our duty to be where history is forged,” Morawiecki said. “Because it’s not about us, but about the future of our children who deserve to live in a world free from tyranny.”
The visit had been planned for several days but was kept secret for security reasons, said Michal Dworczyk, the head of Morawiecki’s office.
He said that a proposal of concrete help for the nation would be presented to Ukraine’s leaders.
Just before dawn, huge explosions thundered through Kyiv from artillery hits by the Ukrainian authorities. It set off a massive fire, which prompted a rush to rescue those trapped in an apartment 15 stories up. One person died, and several others are still trapped in the building.
The entryway to the subway station in downtown was also destroyed by shockwaves. It had been previously used as a bomb shelter. Officials in the city tweeted a photo of the damaged facade and stated that no trains would stop at the station.
Morawiecki, a Facebook user, recalled that Lech Kaczynski was the ex-President of Poland and had visited the capital of Georgia during the Russian attack on Ukraine in 2008.
He quoted President Kaczynski who said at the time in Tbilisi: “Today Georgia, tomorrow Ukraine, the day after tomorrow the Baltic states, and then maybe it’s time for my country, for Poland.”
Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s presence also has symbolic significance. Lech Kaczynski’s twin, Jaroslaw Kaczynski died with 95 other victims in an airplane crash in Russia in 2010. He was on a trip to remember the Poles who were executed during World War II by Soviet secret police. The plane crashed in Poland after an investigation.