A well-placed Ukrainian government source has told VRT News that the issues between newly appointed Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib and Ukraine have not yet been ironed out. In July last year, Ms Lahbib traveled as a journalist to the Crimea Pensinsular, an area of Ukraine that has been occupied by Russia since 2014. She went to Crimea via Russia, which is illegal under Ukrainian law. This could mean that Ms Lahbib will be denied entry to Ukraine.
In a mail sent to our newsroom a Ukraine government source writes “Ukraine’s position has not changed. Our Foreign Minister did not give any assurance that a visit to Kyiv is possible at this stage. We still expect the Belgian side to provide explanations about the Crimea trip which have not been provided yet”.
This contradicts Mr Van Quickenborne’s claim in a television interview last Sunday (31 July) that Ukraine and Belgium are on the same page. He also said that a written response from the Ukraine Foreign Minister was evidence that Ukraine views Ms Lahbib as “the” interlocutor for is communications with the Belgian Government.
However, it would seem that the matter is anything but settled. Nevertheless, the Ukraine Government will certainly leave the door open for talks with the Belgian Foreign Minister. It will though continue to ask questions about Ms Lahbib's Crimean tip.