Boosting Ukraine’s Resilience: Dutch Foreign Minister Bruins Slot Signs Project on Supporting Stabilisation of Liberated Territories and Accountability for War Crimes

December 05, 2023

The wounds of Russia’s illegal and unjustified war of aggression are nationwide and touch all Ukrainians. But they run even deeper in the areas that have experienced Russian occupation.

Standing with Ukraine, the Government of The Netherlands is stepping in to support Ukraine in the efforts to stabilise its liberated areas by financing a project of €8 million aiming at “supporting Ukrainian’s Civilian Security Sector Agencies to stabilize and restore government, safety, security, and social cohesion in the liberated territories in Ukraine”.

The EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine facilitates the implementation of the project. To formally kick it off, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Hanke Bruins Slot, and the Head of EUAM Ukraine, Rolf Holmboe, signed an “Arrangement on Implementation” in Kyiv on 5 December 2023.

The Ukrainian Government faces tremendous challenges in re-establishing security and safety, in getting basic services and public institutions to function, and not least in rebuilding social cohesion, in those areas liberated thanks to the determined actions of the Ukrainian Defence Forces.

The Ukrainian law enforcement agencies take on a host of new tasks once they arrive in the liberated areas. They have to build mine awareness among civilians, not least with children. They must engage in community policing to resolve disputes and de-escalate possible tensions. And not least, they must act quickly to investigate possible war crimes, before crime scenes become contaminated, or victims and witnesses disperse.

The law enforcement agencies are the first to take over control of an area once the front line moves on. But they lack almost everything: the Russian Armed Forces will usually have destroyed or looted almost all their infrastructure and equipment.

EUAM Ukraine supports the Ukrainian authorities in re-establishing state presence, delivering services, and rebuilding social cohesion in the liberated areas. The Mission does this through pre-deployment training and by hands-on support during their deployments. A key engagement is to build their capacity to deal with International Crimes.

But the agencies need essential equipment that may enable them to effectively conduct their work, such as mobile police stations and IT equipment. They also need forensics equipment to process possible war crimes scenes, and communications equipment to be able to operate together under the still very hazardous conditions.

“We are proud and impressed with what you are doing here in Ukraine” said Minister Bruins Slot speaking to EUAM’s Head of Mission and some of his key advisors, which include experts from The Netherlands. In Kyiv, the Minister also underlined the significant engagement of EUAM in supporting Ukraine in its quest for justice, and accountability for the atrocities of the war.

Thanking the Dutch Minister for supporting EUAM’s efforts to support Ukraine in meeting the massive wartime challenges, Rolf Holmboe stressed the significance of this project in bringing Ukraine one step closer to getting justice for the huge amount of war crimes committed.