BUCHA – German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock pledged Tuesday that the international community would hold to account those responsible for the killing of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha during Russia’s war.
Speaking during a visit to the town on the outskirts of Kyiv, Baerbock said that “the worst crimes imaginable” had been perpetrated in Bucha during the Russian occupation.
Witnesses have told how Russian soldiers targeted civilians seemingly at random, leaving their bodies lying on the street after their withdrawal on March 31.
“We owe it to the victims that we don’t just commemorate them here, but that we hold the perpetrators to account,” Baerbock said. “And we as the international community will do this. That’s the promise we can and must make here in Bucha.”
Baerbock is the first member of the German government to travel to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in late February. The trip comes days after Berlin and Kyiv set aside a diplomatic spat concerning Ukraine’s unwillingness to invite the German president because of his past close dealings with Russia.
Baerbock visited Bucha together with Ukraine’s prosecutor general, saying the international community would help Ukraine to collect evidence of war crimes.
Speaking to reporters at a damaged church, Baerbock said she heard accounts from those who had lost loved ones during the occupation, including people killed in a supermarket while they were going shopping, and a woman and her two children shot dead while they were trying to flee.
“We want to make a small contribution to supporting the investigation into these war crimes and crimes against humanity,” she said, adding: “We owe it to the victims.”
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