Amukhina and still water with ice. Heavy curtains, streaked with 1980s patterns, like the chairs, which are marked with yellowish diamonds. An opaque table. The TV, crammed into a heavy wooden cabinet. The clock that tells the time: midnight and fifty-four minutes. Everything is sober, modest, a little deserted because the war is on and there is no time for details. And yet in this setting there is the story of Europe leading the Union to Kyiv.
Ukrainian security guards have dark circles under their eyes when they venture into the narrow corridors of the special train. The fact that everything on board is spartan – the uniforms of the delegations and the sparkling water, the sad ocher of the interior and also the tone of the Europeans on duty – is also a homage to the resistance fighters, to a transformed country a bunker.
The style also adapts, it is marked by the decision to bring politics to the field, a real field of war. Emmanuel Macron in a white shirt and stand-up collar. Mario Draghi with the air conditioner sweater. Olaf Scholz in jeans and a black short-sleeved shirt that is no longer in fashion.
A shot taken at night when the train leaves the Polish border heading straight for the capital. The three, the leaders, find themselves in the Frenchman’s cabin as the carriages jolt together and the Ukrainian border police stop the train to check the passports of those present. The founders of Europe speak for at least one and a half hours.
The folders on the table remain closed during photography. And with them, sealed, each leader’s line, their differences, the decision to still be together in the presence of the President who defies the Tsar. They go to Zelensky to tell him that one day he can come. That Putin’s bombs don’t stop a project, even if Berlin is pushing for negotiations and Draghi instead seems more intransigent, “there can be no forced peace”.
The train runs at night, it only arrives in the morning. Next stop, Kyiv.