Baerbock, who was meeting with local residents during the unannounced trip, is the latest in a string of foreign diplomats and leaders to visit Bucha, one of several towns and villages around Kyiv where Moscow’s army has been accused of carrying out war crimes.
The German minister said Bucha was a place where “the worst crimes imaginable have happened”, promising to “hold accountable” those responsible.
“We owe it to the victims to not only commemorate here, but to also hold the perpetrators accountable. This is what we are going to do as the
international community, that’s the promise that we can and must give here in Bucha,” she said.
“No one can take away the pain… but we can ensure justice,” she said, accompanied on her visit by Ukraine’s attorney general who is investigating the killings.
Baerbock is the first German cabinet member to visit Ukraine since the war began on February 24th.
A diplomatic row had been rumbling between Germany and Ukraine after German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier admitted last month he had offered to go to Ukraine with other EU leaders, but this was “not wanted in Kyiv”.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Steinmeier were last week invited to visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Foreign Minister Baerbock was accompanied by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Wenediktova during her visit on Tuesday. Baerbock was scheduled to meet with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in the afternoon.
She was also set to reopen the German embassy in Kyiv, which has been closed since mid-February. The last posted staff of the embassy left for Poland on February 25th.
Baerbock is seen below lighting a candle in memory of Ukrainian victims.
— Katrin Eigendorf (@KEigendorf) May 10, 2022
Germany is one of the last western countries to announce the reopening of its embassy in Kyiv. On Sunday, the USA and Canada said its embassy staff had returned. Staff from the EU, France, Italy, Great Britain, Austria and other states also reopened their bases in Kyiv. From the group of G7 countries, only Japan has not yet announced the reopening of its embassy.
On Sunday, Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (Social Democrats) visited Kyiv as the second highest representative of the state after the German President. Meanwhile, the CDU leader Friedrich Merz went to Kyiv last Tuesday.
No date has been revealed for when Chancellor Scholz will go to the war-torn country.