As President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Ukraine’s capital on Thursday, he said he was coming 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 President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to try to find an end to the war — said the three had come “to talk both about the present and the future, because we know the coming weeks are going to be very hard.”
“It is an important moment,” Mr. Macron told reporters on a platform of the Kyiv train station shortly after disembarking.
They are the latest world leaders to make the journey to the Kyiv since Russian forces failed in their bid to quickly topple Ukraine’s government and seize the capital.
Until Thursday morning, the French, German and Italian authorities had declined to confirm the widely speculated trip, shrouding it in secrecy. Details of the overnight trip, on a special train chartered by the Ukrainian authorities, were provided by the French presidency and by an Agence France-Presse reporter onboard.
The train left from an nondescript platform, made partly of dirt and nibbled by weeds, in an equally nondescript and unidentified train station.
In pictures taken by journalists on the train, the three leaders appeared relaxed and smiling. Mr. Macron, Mr. Scholz and Mr. Draghi held a late-night, 90-minute meeting in Mr. Macron’s train car over snacks and orange juice, without their respective advisers.