Croatia will Continue to Assist Ukraine, Says PM

By 10 May 2022

ZAGREB, 10 May 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday Croatia would continue to assist Ukraine in various ways and that it was "very difficult to imagine" that the crimes committed in Bucha and Irpin were occurring in Europe in 2022.

"Croatia will... continue to provide political, diplomatic, humanitarian, financial and technical assistance to Ukraine in this situation and, naturally, advocate the values we share," he told the press.

He said the visit to Kyiv on Sunday was "carefully planned." "Our support as a government, a people, is evident, visible, I think." He and Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman visited Irpin and Bucha after meeting with Ukraine's leadership in Kyiv.

"The destruction which took place in Irpin, which is a modern city, a city of young families where 100,000 people live, is unbelievable," Plenković said.

In Bucha, a priest showed them a mass grave in a church yard. "Such a crime against the civilian population is horrifying and reminds us of the situation in the Homeland War. It's for utter condemnation, unacceptable."

Plenković and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy talked about a Croatian national taken prisoner by Russian forces. Plenković said the Ukrainian authorities were familiar with the case and would inform the public when there were any news.

Russian media have said that a "Croatian mercenary" has been taken prisoner in Mariupol.

Asked if negotiations would be held with the Russians, Plenković said, "For now, we will talk with the Ukrainians and see what can be done."

The dialogue with Russia and Croatia-Russia diplomatic relations have not been interrupted, he added. "Had we interrupted diplomatic relations, it would probably be more difficult."

Von der Leyen not coming to Mostar

The prime minister also commented on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will hold general elections in October although the election law has not been changed.

He said that contrary to media reports, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was not coming to Mostar, but that "another high EU official will visit" in the next ten days.

Plenković welcomed the decision of the Croatian National Assembly to participate in the elections, saying that "the Croats should elect their representatives as only then will BiH function well" and calling for dialogue.

He said Croats in BiH were "often victims of electoral engineering and should in no way be considered the culprits for the situation in BiH."

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman, he added, "is regularly in BiH and it's good that he's often there to convey the policy and activities the government is undertaking in the interest of Croats in BiH, and we have been doing it constantly, for years, intensively, systematically, with arguments. We are trying to win over allies for solving the unjust position of the Croats."