Polish, Czech, Slovenian PMs visit Kyiv in show of solidarity - media

A visit by the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Tuesday is aimed to show solidarity with the country and to present a broad EU aid package, European and global media have reported.

The New York Times reported that the three heads of government wanted to show "unequivocal support" to Ukraine and present the EU aid package adding that the visit was kept secret until the last minute as Kyiv is under constant attack by Russian forces, both from the air and on the ground.

Other US media outlets also reported on the solidarity mission of Poland's Mateusz Morawiecki, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who also heads the ruling Law and Justice party, the Czech Republic's Petr Fiala and Slovenia's Janez Jansa, to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

NBC News wrote on its website that, "even as the fighting raged and the war entered its 21st day, the leaders of three European countries were heading to Ukraine's capital by train to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky in a bold show of support."

The story was also carried in the USA by CNN, Fox News, The Washington Post and Time magazine as well as the Bloomberg news agency.

In Portugal, Lisbon radio station TSF highlighted that the three leaders' visit came a few dozen hours after a Russian missile attack hit a Ukrainian military training facility close to the Polish border. Both TSF and TV station SIC said the move was both a gesture of solidarity with Kyiv and an act of great bravery.

SIC also highlighted Poland's actions in support of Ukraine, including calling for the toughest possible sanctions against Moscow, seeking military solutions, and the "huge help" offered by Polish society to their eastern neighbours.

The NRC daily of the Netherlands was among many of the country's media outlets that reported on the visit, and quoted Morawiecki as saying: "Our duty is to be where history is being forged."

NRC also reported that the visit took place with the approval of the EU and UN and that the three leaders wanted to show "the unambiguous support of the European Union for Ukraine's sovereignty and independence."

Dutch daily De Telegraaf wrote that the prime ministers wanted to not only carry words of comfort for Ukraine but also information of concrete support.

Bulgarian media described the visit a "historic." The country's Medipool portal carried the same quote from Morawiecki as NRC, with the addition: "because it's not about us but about the future of our children, who deserve to live in a world free of tyranny."

Mediapool also said the visit was a huge symbolic success for Zelensky, who at the outbreak of war declined and evacuation offer, choosing to remain in the besieged capital.

In Spain, the Cadena Ser radio station said the visit left no illusions as to which side the three leaders were on.

Spanish commentators also noted Kaczynski's participation despite the risks and pointed out that he rarely accompanies Morawiecki on foreign assignments. Spain's EFE agency suggested Kaczynski's presence was related to his role as the minister responsible for national security and defence issues within the Polish government.

Spanish TV station TVE highlighted that while Warsaw's authorities had decided on a risky journey to Kyiv, the People's Republic of China's position remains unclear. "Since the start of the war in Ukraine, China's stance has been very ambiguous," TVE reported.

In the UK, The Times carried the same quote from Morawiecki, citing social media, while The Guardian described the visit as "an attempt to bolster Ukraine in its fight for its sovereignty" and The Independent wrote: "Three European leaders are travelling to Kyiv on Tuesday to express the bloc’s support for Ukraine, becoming the first foreign dignitaries to visit the capital since Vladimir Putin's war began."

The Daily Express noted that while the Ukrainian capital was not under Russian control, enemy fire had intensified in recent days and asked what the consequences would be if the three EU heads of government were attacked, pointing out that all three are prime ministers of Nato countries.

The paper suggested that if one or all of them were attacked it could trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Alliance - that an attack on one member state is an attack on the whole of Nato.

The BBC's European editor, Katya Adler, wrote that the three leaders' journey "may seem quirky, counter-intuitive or downright fool-hardy, but the three leaders were determined to deliver three separate messages from the war-torn region had gone to Kyiv with three messages: solidarity with Ukrainians, a warning Moscow may also have its sights on other former communist countries like theirs, and frustration with the West’s handling of the crisis."

She said that while the West tried to show a united front against Russia's aggression, divisions within Nato and the EU are becoming ever clearer, as countries situated closer to Russia are calling for a no-fly zone in line with calls by Zelensky "while Germany, Italy and Austria have finances on their mind."

"They want to penalise Russia, but have a more slowly, slowly approach - out of fear of the impact on their own economies," she wrote.