The Presidents of the Czech Republic and Slovakia – Petr Pavel and Zuzana Čaputová – are in Ukraine.
They witnessed the devastating effects of the Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities.
Czech President Petr Pavel stressed that – as a former military man – he did not expect to see evidence of planned and massive attacks on civilian targets in Europe.
Shocked by the visit to Borodianka Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová wrote on Facebook that “the shameful attack on Ukrainian cities, including Uman and Dnieper, which resulted in the deaths of innocent people, reminds us that we cannot look away”.
Czech media point out that Pavel’s and Čaputová’s visit takes place right after the night Russian rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities, in which at least a dozen people were killed.
In Borodianka, the Czech President said that the sight of the ruined city reminded him of what he had seen as a military man during the war in former Yugoslavia.
“I thought I would never see it again – so close and especially in Europe. The number of attacks on civilian objects shows that they are intentional. A navigation error can happen from time to time, but with this number, it’s not a bug. Clearly, this is the plan. This plan is quite clear – to cause chaos and fear among the civilian population, and thus put pressure on the government to resign,” said Pavel.
He emphasized that the Russians failed to break the Ukrainians and the countries supporting Ukraine.
Both Presidents reached Kyiv by train in the early hours of Friday morning. They are to meet, among others, with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The detailed program of the visit has not been published for security reasons, but the media suggest that both leaders will also talk to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
“Zuzana Čaputová and I share the values of freedom and justice. Ukrainians pay the highest price for this with the blood and lives of their citizens. In the fight against the aggressor, they defend what unites us,” Pavel wrote on Twitter.
Čaputová called the joint visit to Ukraine “a new stage in relations” between Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
“This is our first joint foreign visit and I am glad that we have just arrived in Ukraine. Our message is clear: we are connected with Ukraine not only by borders and a common past but also by a common future,” said Slovakian President.