When headlines flashed on Tuesday morning that the leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia were on a train to Kyiv for talks with the Ukrainian president, it was news to some members of their immediate families.

The trip to a city under siege, where Ukraine's military is fighting invading Russian forces just a few kilometers from the periphery, was hastily arranged and known only to a few people.

Public pronouncements by the leaders and by a participant and a diplomatic source who spoke privately point to an arduous and risky diplomatic mission that underlined the sense of urgency among European countries to end the war.