KYIV, Ukraine — The leaders of three japanese members of the European Union traveled to Kyiv on Tuesday on a high-risk mission that was saved beneath wraps till after that they had boarded a prepare to the embattled Ukrainian capital.
Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, posted images on Fb of the boys sitting spherical a desk and poring over maps, and the Czech prime minister, Petr Fiala, did the identical on Twitter.
“It’s right here, in war-torn Kyiv, that historical past is being made,” Mr. Morawiecki wrote. “It’s right here, that freedom fights towards the world of tyranny. It’s right here that the way forward for us all hangs within the stability.”
Later within the day, Ukrainian media aired video footage of President Volodymyr Zelensky, in what has change into his signature khaki inexperienced T-shirt and fleece, striding into a gathering room and sitting down with Mr. Morawiecki, Mr. Fiala and the prime minister of Slovenia.
“Your go to to Kyiv at this tough time for Ukraine is a robust signal of assist — we admire it,” Mr. Zelensky mentioned in a press release launched with the footage.
The images launched by European leaders earlier sought to convey a daring present of assist for Ukraine three weeks after Russian troops invaded the nation, and because the mayor of Kyiv warned of rising hazard for the capital and its inhabitants.
The symbolism was highly effective.
The Czech and Polish folks have been subjugated by the previous Soviet Union and lived by way of a long time of communist rule. Now, alarm has been rising that President Vladimir V. Putin is looking for to show again the clock greater than 30 years and making an attempt to reclaim the misplaced Soviet sphere of affect.
The European leaders have been reported to have traveled by prepare from the Polish border, a journey of no less than seven hours. Ukrainian officers launched few particulars concerning the journey.
Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, writing on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, embraced the guests. “The braveness of true mates of Ukraine,” he mentioned. “Discussing assist of Ukraine and strengthening sanctions towards Russian aggression.”
There was no indication that Moscow had assured protected passage for the prime ministers. Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, mentioned that the governments of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia had not been in contact with the Kremlin about Tuesday’s journey.
The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, visiting a burning condominium constructing hit in considered one of Tuesday’s strikes, applauded the guests.
“Preserve supporting Ukraine,” he mentioned, “as a result of we’re preventing not for Ukraine. This struggle touched everybody on the planet, particularly the European Union, the European household.”
Mr. Klitschko warned that his metropolis — and the entire nation — face nice hazard in coming days. Earlier, his workplace introduced a two-day curfew for the capital.
On Tuesday, firefighters in Kyiv battled a fierce blaze in a 16-story condominium block for many of the day after a missile gouged an enormous crater at its entrance. They rescued residents by way of condominium home windows by ladder by way of the thick smoke and later went again for a number of the pets had been left behind. By midafternoon that they had carried out two our bodies in black physique luggage.
A few of the survivors sat on benches, reluctant to go away even because the authorities supplied to take them to a refuge.
“There was an enormous roar and all of the home windows shattered,” Yelena Derevyanko mentioned. She and her husband, Vadym, lived on the sixteenth ground and have been rescued by firefighters.
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A present of E.U. assist. The leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia headed to Kyiv to precise the European Union’s “unequivocal assist” and supply monetary assist to Ukraine. The go to was saved secret till the final minute as preventing rages across the Ukrainian capital.
Considered one of their neighbors, Mykola Fedkiv, a retired geologist, stood ready all day hoping to get again into his condominium to gather his private paperwork. “I got here out with nothing,” he mentioned. “I left every part: My phone, my medicines, every part.”
The explosions had jolted him awake, and he fled his condominium on the twelfth ground down the principle stairs. A hearth was already burning on the primary ground and he climbed by way of the blasted entrance corridor and into the bomb crater the place folks grabbed his arms and pulled him out.
Clutching a plastic bag of groceries somebody had given him, he waved off a query as to the place he would keep the evening.
“God is aware of,” he mentioned.
that the three touring prime ministers had arrived “on behalf of” the European Union Council. Nonetheless, E.U. officers mentioned the boys had not obtained the European Union’s blessing for his or her journey.
The go to by the three leaders created some uncommon friction throughout the European Union, whose 27 member states have projected a united entrance towards Moscow, taking extraordinary measures to punish it for the assault on Ukraine with report pace.
Prime Minister Morawiecki of Poland introduced up his intention to go to Kyiv at an E.U. assembly final week at Versailles, exterior Paris. However the go to to Kyiv by no means received a proper blessing from the bloc.
Nonetheless, the go to to Kyiv, which some E.U. officers nervous would possibly result in guarantees that would not be saved, was welcomed as courageous in components of the bloc.
“That is Europe at its greatest,” declared a headline within the fashionable German tabloid Bild, on an article that mentioned: “Putin’s struggle just isn’t over so long as Europe is able to defend its values. With all of the means it takes to take action. Even when it’s only a prepare journey within the shadow of bombs and missiles.”
Carlotta Gallreported from Kyiv, and Matina Stevis-Gridnefffrom Brussels. Ivan Nechepurenko contributed reporting from Istanbul.