French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will visit Kyiv on Thursday for the first time since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, in a historic joint trip.
The three leaders took a night train headed to Kyiv, according to pictures published by La Repubblica early on Thursday morning. They are set to cross into Ukraine from the Polish border, the Italian daily reported, although their precise travel plans are unknown, since Paris, Berlin and Rome did not give official details on the highly anticipated trip.
The joint visit from the leaders of the three largest EU economies carries important symbolic weight, especially ahead of the next meeting of EU leaders next week, when they are set to decide whether to grant Ukraine candidate status to join the bloc. What Macron, Scholz and Draghi will say on the matter is still unclear.
During a visit on Wednesday to Moldova, which is also seeking EU candidate status, Macron kept the door open on both Kyiv and Chișinău’s prospects. “I want us to send a clear and positive signal, but we have to build unanimity among EU members. I don’t think we can dissociate Moldova from Ukraine in the prospects that we give,” he said.
“There’s no consensus for candidate status and there’s no consensus for no candidate status. But there seems to be consensus for a third way — candidate status with conditions,” a diplomat familiar with the topic told Brussels Playbook.
This article was updated.