Updated Mar 15, 2022 - World

3 European leaders to visit Zelensky in Kyiv

Zelensky meeting with patient

Zelensky meeting with an injured soldier at a hospital in Kyiv. Photo: Ukrainian Presidency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia will visit Kyiv on Tuesday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and convey the European Union's "unequivocal support" for Ukraine on day 20 of Russia's invasion.

The latest: The dramatic visit comes as Ukraine still maintains control of Kyiv, though Russian forces continue to bombard targets — including residential and other civilian buildings — in the city.

  • Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said at least four people were killed by a Russian strike against an apartment building and announced a 35-hour curfew beginning Tuesday night, according to the New York Times.
  • Russian and Ukrainian delegations resumed negotiations on Tuesday, with Kyiv seeking the withdrawal of Russian troops from the country. Mykhailo Podolyak, an aide to Zelensky, said in a tweet that a potential ceasefire was discussed during the talks.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday it is helping people evacuate Sumy in north-eastern Ukraine by leading two convoys of approximately 70 trucks, though it told the United Nations that it has been unable to deliver aid to people in besieged Mariupol, according to Reuters.
  • Authorities in Mariupol said in a post on Telegram that a large group of civilians in 2,000 cars fled the besieged city along a humanitarian corridor.

Why it matters: By traveling to Kyiv, the three European leaders will be visiting an active war zone with the blessing of EU leadership, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

What they're saying: "The purpose of the visit is to confirm the unequivocal support of the entire European Union for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," Poland's government said Tuesday.

  • "The aim of this visit is also to present a broad package of support for the Ukraine and Ukrainians," it added.

The big picture: The EU also announced a fourth sanctions package against Russia on Tuesday that in part revokes its "most favored nation" trade status and other World Trade Organization benefits.

  • Russia's invasion of Ukraine has set off the EU's transformation into a foreign policy heavyweight by sanctioning Moscow and aiding Ukrainians with military and humanitarian goods.
  • The invasion has set Ukraine on an accelerated path to EU membership while motivating other countries, such as Georgia, to apply to join the bloc as domestic support for Ukraine has galvanized calls to integrate with the West.
  • More than 3 million Ukrainian refugees have escaped the invasion by entering Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and other countries in what United Nations labeled the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

Go deeper: The latest on the Russia-Ukraine crisis

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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