© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks to the press as he arrives for a European Union (EU) emergency summit at the European Council building, on the situation in Ukraine after Russia launched an invasion of Brussels, Belgium February


By James Mackenzie

KYIV (Reuters) – An international peacekeeping mission should be sent to Ukraine and given the means to defend itself, the leader of Poland’s ruling party said on Tuesday after meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski made his remarks after he and the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia arrived in Kiev in a show of high-level support for Zelenskiy, who briefed them on the war with Russia.

“I think it is necessary to have a peacekeeping mission – NATO, possibly a broader international structure – but a mission that can defend itself and that will operate on Ukrainian soil,” Kaczynski said at a news conference.

“It will be a mission that strives for peace, to provide humanitarian aid, but at the same time it will also be protected by the right forces, armed forces,” said Kaczynski, who is seen as the main decision-maker in Poland.

Russian airstrikes and shelling hit Kiev on Tuesday, killing at least five people, authorities said, as invading forces tightened their grip and the mayor declared a 35-hour curfew.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Czech counterpart Petr Fiala and Slovenian Janez Jansa, all of whom traveled by train, were the first foreign leaders to visit the capital since last month’s invasion.

Zelenskiy, noting that many ambassadors had left Kiev, said the visiting leaders were “afraid of nothing and are more afraid of our fate” and thanked them for their support.

“We have absolute confidence in these countries and the leaders of these countries… we are 100% confident that whatever we discuss will achieve the goals for our country, our security and our future,” he told the news conference.

The Czech Republic and Poland, former communist countries that are members of both the EU and NATO, have been among Ukraine’s strongest pillars of support in Europe since the Russian invasion.

Before the meeting, Morawiecki tweeted that “It is here, in war-torn Kiev, that history is being made. It is here that freedom fights against the world of tyranny. It is here that the future of all of us is at stake”.

The idea of ​​the trip was agreed last week at a summit of EU leaders in Versailles in France, said Michal Dworczyk, Poland’s prime minister.

But an EU official said no “formal mandate” had been extended by Brussels.

Russia calls its actions a “special military operation” to “denazify” Ukraine, which Kiev and its Western allies reject as a pretext for an unwarranted and illegal attack.

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This post Top Polish politician calls for peace mission in Ukraine By Reuters

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