On 21 June 2022 and at the invitation of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, the Prime Minister, Minister of State, Xavier Bettel, went to Kiev in Ukraine.
First, the Prime Minister, accompanied by Emine Dzhaparova, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, visited the cities of Borodianka, Bucha and Irpin. In Irpin, the Prime Minister visited the exhibition "Ukraine-Crucifixion"; and took part in a brief special ceremony in memory of Ukrainian children who died during the invasion. The Prime Minister placed a toy there as a commemorative gesture.
"I salute the memory of the victims in these "heroic" cities, as the Ukrainians have decided to call them. I admire the courage of the women and men who are rebuilding the basic infrastructure, bringing these towns back to life after the barbarity that took place there with its share of exactions, crimes and violations of international humanitarian law. You can count on Luxembourg to support investigations by national and international actors into these war crimes, and to work to ensure that those responsible for these atrocities are identified, prosecuted and punished," noted the Prime Minister during these visits.
The field visits were followed by a meeting with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. The main topics were Luxembourg's support for the Ukrainian people in terms of humanitarian, military and financial contributions, as well as the European sanctions against Russia and the worldwide food insecurity as a direct consequence of the Russian aggression. It was important for the Prime Minister to underline the support of the Luxembourg people for Ukraine: "Four months after the beginning of the war, and following your invitation, I am here today to show Luxembourg's support for Ukraine. My message - to you, Mr President, and to the Ukrainian people here in Ukraine and to all those seeking refuge elsewhere - is clear: We - Luxembourg and the Luxembourg people - stand by you.
Ukraine's application for membership of the European Union was also discussed during the meeting. With regard to the latter, the Prime Minister noted that: "I wish to inform you today of Luxembourg's political support for the granting, without delay, of candidate status for EU membership. Following the opinion of the Commission, I will also plead in the European Council in this sense. This is an important signal of hope that you, Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, deserve. However, the Prime Minister was keen to add that "in this debate it is important to ensure that the expectations of all parties are being met. As we know, there is no 'fast track' to EU membership. With candidate status, a long process begins. We simply cannot ignore the acquis communautaire and the Copenhagen criteria - rule of law; respect for fundamental rights; a functioning market economy.
The Prime Minister concluded by noting: "Yes, the challenges are substantial. But: I can assure you that Luxembourg will stand by you. Today in the face of Russian aggression. And in the long term for the reconstruction of your country."
Following the meeting, the Prime Minister had a meeting with the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Chmyhal, and a meeting with the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament, Ruslan Stefantchuk, in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
Press release by the Ministry of State