Kyiv Foreign Minister Annalina Barbuk (Green Party) is the first German Cabinet member to travel to the capital, Kyiv, since the start of Russia’s aggressive war on Ukraine. The politician from the Green Party got for the first time an idea of the situation in the suburb of Bucha on Tuesday. More than 400 bodies were found there after the Russian forces withdrew – some with their hands tied behind their backs.
At a church in Bucha, Barbock recounted her impressions and spoke of “a place where the worst crimes imaginable took place.” It became clear to her that “these victims could all be us,” Barbock said, noting that Bucha is a suburb of Kyiv with her adopted home in Potsdam as a suburb of Berlin.
Kill people in daily missions. In the church, she saw pictures of a mother who tried to escape with her two children and was killed.
At the same time, Barbuk promised the Ukrainian Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova, who accompanied her on the visit, that Germany and the international community would support the investigation. “We will ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable, and we owe it to the victims,” Barbock said.
Today’s Top Jobs
Find the best jobs now and
You are notified by e-mail.
In the afternoon, a conversation is scheduled between Barbuk and her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba. In addition to the question of concrete German support for Ukraine, for example in the form of arms shipments, the question of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union should also be at stake.
Prepare the planned trip
In a video address on Monday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky once again expressed his desire to obtain the status of a candidate to join the European Union by June. Previously, Kyiv delivered a thousand-page questionnaire on EU membership to Brussels,
Barbock’s trip to Ukraine had long been anticipated – but it did not take place due to various international visits and the controversy over not being invited by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
>> Read Handelsblatt’s comment: Scholz and Merz’s Kyiv travel plans are completely off
Last week, Chancellor Olaf Schultz (Social Democratic Party) officially announced Barbock’s trip to Ukraine. But for security reasons, the details of the Secretary of State’s trip have been kept secret for a long time. When UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited the Ukrainian capital at the end of April, Russian missiles were fired at the city.
Chancellor Schultz himself had described the federal president’s invitation as an obstacle to his trip to Kyiv. After Steinmeier and Ukraine’s President Selinsky brushed off anger in a phone call last week, Schulz announced that Barbock would be traveling soon. It was not initially clear if and when Schulz could travel to Kyiv.
Selinsky had invited chancellor on May 9 – Russia on Monday celebrated the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
Silinsky stated that Schultz could take a “very strong political step” and come to the Ukrainian capital that day. However, Schulz did not accept the invitation, but received French President Emmanuel Macron in Berlin.
Planned embassy reopening
The minister also wanted to reopen the German embassy in Kyiv, which had been closed since mid-February. The last embassy staff sent to Poland left on February 25 and continued to work partly from there and partly from Berlin.
Germany is one of the last Western countries to announce the reopening of its embassy in Kyiv. On Sunday, the United States and Canada announced the return of embassy staff. Prior to this, the representations of the European Union, France, Italy, Great Britain, Austria and other countries have already reopened in Kyiv. Only Japan, which has yet to announce the reopening of its embassy, is missing from the G7 group of leading industrial democratic nations.
In recent weeks, there have been many discussions about visits of German politicians to Ukraine. An invitation from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who wanted to travel to Kyiv with the presidents of Poland and the three Baltic states, caused strong discontent in Berlin.
On Sunday, the President of the Bundestag Barbel Bass (SPD) visited Kyiv as the second highest representative of the state after the Federal President. And before that, CDU president Friedrich Merz was in Kyiv last Tuesday.
With Material Agency
moreRead the current developments in the Ukraine war in the live blog