Foreign Minister of Belgium, Who Illegally Traveled to Crimea, Wrote a Letter to Ukrainian Colleague

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib wrote a letter to her Ukrainian colleague, Dmytro Kuleba, on the Ukrainian Statehood Day. She expressed her support for Ukraine, stressing that Crimea and Donbas belong to Ukraine.

"I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my country's unwavering solidarity with and the full support to Ukraine as well as the deep friendship that unites our two countries," Lahbib wrote in her letter.

The Minister, who traveled to occupied Crimea in the summer of 2021, emphasized in her letter that Crimea and Donbas belong to Ukraine but did not mention her trip to the peninsula last year.

"The territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders must be fully respected. These borders include all the territories of Ukraine, among which Crimea and the Donbass, which are presently under the illegal occupation of the Russian Federation, directly or via puppet regimes," the Belgian Minister admit.

She also expressed support for Ukraine's European future.

"My country sees Ukraine as a member of the European family. We firmly support your country's determination to defend the same values of freedom and democracy that inspire the European project," writes Lahbib.

"Belgium systematically condemns in the strongest terms Russia's aggression against Ukraine. We also strongly support the fight against impunity for war crimes. Belgium is determined to continue to provide political, economic, military, and humanitarian support to your country. And we will be there when it comes to rebuilding your country after the war and supporting Ukraine to implement the necessary reforms on the road towards its European destiny," the letter reads.

The Belgian Minister expressed hope to visit Kyiv soon.

As previously reported, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, through its diplomatic channels with the Belgian side, is investigating how the newly appointed head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Hadja Lahbib, traveled to occupied Crimea in the summer of 2021, when she was still a journalist.

At the same time, the ministry positively notes Minister Lahbib's assurances regarding further support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia's armed aggression.

Hadja Lahbib attended the Global Values Festival organized by the Sevastopol Lunacharsky Academic Russian Drama Theatre (23-25 July 2021). Lahbib was tagged in a Facebook post about the festival, which she shared on her own account with the comment "Intense moments of creation." She openly talked about the trip on television, but it did not gain wide publicity until she was appointed the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Whether she arrived on the peninsula via "Chongar" or Russia is still unknown.

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