Macron says European leaders are delivering ‘a message of unity’.


When President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Ukraine’s capital on Thursday, he said he would come with “a message of unity”.

Flanked by Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany and Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, the French leader — who has positioned himself as Europe’s central interlocutor with Russia’s President Vladimir V. Putin to end the war — said the three had come “to talk about both the present and the future because we know the coming weeks are going to be very difficult.”

“It’s an important moment,” Macron told reporters on a platform at the Kiev train station shortly after disembarking.

They are the last world leaders to make the journey to Kiev since Russian forces failed in their attempt to quickly overthrow the Ukrainian government and take the capital.

Until Thursday morning, French, German and Italian authorities had refused to confirm the much-specified journey and to cover it up in secret. Details of the overnight journey, with a special train chartered by the Ukrainian authorities, were provided by the French Presidency and by an Agence France-Presse reporter on board.

The train departed from a nondescript platform, partly made of earth and nibbled by weeds, into an equally nondescript and unidentified train station.

In photos taken by journalists on the train, the three leaders appeared relaxed and smiling. Mr Macron, Mr Scholz and Mr Draghi held a 90-minute overnight meeting in Mr Macron’s train car over snacks and orange juice, without their respective advisers.

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