The official visit to Ukraine began with a visit to the village of Yahidne. It is located north of Kyiv and was badly damaged last year when the full-scale Russian invasion began.
The President was shown the basement of the local school, where residents of the village were trapped for a month in inhumane conditions. They served as a human shield for a Russian army unit on the top floor of the school – a clear war crime.
The school where all this happened is now planned to be preserved as a memorial. On Friday President Rinkēvičs said that he is doing everything possible to achieve the establishment of an international tribunal to try war crimes.
"What we just saw when we visited a school where more than 300 people were held for 27 days – all the terrible testimony I just heard from witnesses – I think it needs to be told more widely to the world," Rinkēvičs said.
As part of the visit, the state president also familiarized himself with the implementation of support projects funded by Latvia. So far Latvia has allocated around 5 million euros for reconstruction projects in the Chernihiv region.
While in Ukraine, Presient Rinkēvičs also met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
"Latvia has supported Ukraine since 2014 and will continue to support it until the complete victory of Ukraine. Latvia has trained almost 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers this year, and the training will continue next year as well. Ukraine can count on Latvia's political, economic, financial and military support," said Rinkēvičs.
"Ukraine's place is in the European Union. It has achieved significant progress in the implementation of reforms, despite the active hostilities and struggle against the aggressor Russia. The European Commission's enlargement report also confirms the progress achieved. Latvia stands for a quick start of EU accession negotiations with Ukraine. Latvia is ready to provide political and technical support to Ukraine in order to promote its integration into the European Union," added Rinkēvičs.