The Czech Republic's Petr Fiala (2nd left), Slovenia's Janez Jansa (3rd left), Poland's Mateusz Morawiecki (4th left) look on as Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks to the press after a meeting in Kyiv on March 15.
The leaders of three Central European countries have praised Ukraine for its "brave fight" against invading Russian forces after concluding a trip to Kyiv in a defiant act of solidarity with the besieged city and Ukraine's beleaguered president.
Vaclav Smolka, spokesman for Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, tweeted a photo of Fiala early on March 16 showing the president in a protective vest and helmet as he traveled inside a train compartment.
Fiala and the prime ministers of Poland and Slovenia went to Kyiv the day before to witness the destruction firsthand and meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
It was the first visit to the city by foreign leaders since Russia's invasion began on February 24.
"Here, in war-torn Kyiv, history is being made," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Twitter , posting pictures of himself, Fiala, and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa at a table with Zelenskiy, other officials, and a map of Ukraine.
"This war is the result of the cruel tyrant who attacks vulnerable civilians, bombarding cities and hospitals in Ukraine!" Morawiecki said on Facebook .
"As a result, the world lost its sense of security, and innocent people die and lose their whole life's earnings. We need to stop the tragedy that is happening in the East as soon as possible."
Zelenskiy told the three leaders that Russian forces "are shelling everywhere. Not only Kyiv but also the western areas."
Fiala praised Ukraine's "brave fight" to rebuff the invasion.
"You are fighting for your lives, your country and your freedom. We know you are also fighting for our lives. You are not alone," he said on Twitter .
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Jansa also posted comments on Twitter about the prime ministers' trip and meeting, saying that for the last two years discussions of European values have been largely theoretical.
"Then, suddenly, we realized that those fundamental European values actually exist. And that they are threatened. And that Europeans are defending them. With their lives. In Ukraine," he tweeted. Zelenskiy described the visit as a big and brave step, Ukrainian media reported. At a time when many countries have ordered their embassies closed or greatly reduced their diplomatic presence, "these leaders of independent European states" show that they had no fear, he said. "They are here to support us. I am sure that with such friends, with such countries, neighbors, and partners we can really win," he said.