0_Web_Top storiesEuropeEurope.portalSvet.Slajder

Baerbock first German cabinet minister to visit Kiev since war began

Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock travelled to Kiev on Tuesday, becoming the first German cabinet minister to do so since the start of Russia's invasion on February 24.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock travelled to Kiev on Tuesday, becoming the first German cabinet minister to do so since the start of Russia’s invasion on February 24.

Baerbock visited Bucha, according to a dpa reporter at the scene. The town near the capital is where hundreds of bodies of civilians were discovered last month after Russian troops had retreated.

Baerbock was received by an employee of the German Embassy at his house and was accompanied by Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova.

The minister was scheduled to meet with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba later in the day.

The minister was also scheduled to formally reopen the German Embassy in Kiev, which has been closed since mid-February. The embassy’s staff are currently working from western Ukraine and Berlin.

Other countries including the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Britain and Austria have already reopened their embassies in Kiev in the wake of the Russian troops’ withdrawal from the capital.

The visit comes amid a debate about whether and when German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will make the trip as a show of support for Ukraine’s defence against Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had invited the chancellor for May 9, the day Russia celebrates the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany at the end of World War II.

Though Zelensky said at the time that a visit from Scholz on that day would send a “very strong” political message, the chancellor declined the invitation.

There have been tensions between the German and the Ukrainian leadership since Steinmeier was told at short notice not visit in mid-April.

Kiev’s decision came amid sustained criticism of Steinmeier’s ties with Russia and broader criticism from Ukrainian leaders of the time taken for Berlin to supply Ukraine with heavier weaponry.

Back to top button
Close