Address by President Maia Sandu at the Bucha Summit, Ukraine

President Zelensky, Distinguished participants,

Brave people of Ukraine,

We join with you today in solidarity to mark the liberation of Bucha. Our collective conscience as individuals, and as a community of nations is shocked by what we know now.

I visited Bucha last summer, months after it was liberated, and saw the consequences of Russian occupation. In this once peaceful town, Russian forces committed violent crimes against hundreds of civilians and prisoners. Their brutality was without purpose or sense. The Russian response since then has been denial.

Like many in Europe, we hoped that crimes committed in Bucha would never again occur on our continent. Sadly, we were wrong. People we thought we knew, brutally turned on their neighbours.

Bucha now joins with Babi Yar, the Holodomor, and other crimes against humanity committed on this land, reminding us that our freedom and peace are not given. They must be tended every day, and they must be defended when they are ever under threat.

The UN Charter states that the best defence against the human capacity for evil and destruction is lawful consensus, negotiation, and the respect for the individual as well as for the nation.

Similarly, Europe is, first and foremost, a peace project – a family Ukraine must soon be part of.

But in this darkest hour for Ukraine, confronted with a full scale Russian military invasion, you had to take up weapons and fight the aggressor. We are humbled by the courage of the Ukrainian people, and the blood sacrifice of heroes. One of them, Oleksandr Matsiievskyi, born in Moldova.

But those of us not suffering the killing of our people or the destruction of our schools and homes, have a different special responsibility. As states committed to peace and the rule-of-law, our responsibility is to the facts.

The history of this war must include a detailed forensic account. It must take note of every crime, victim, and crime scene, but also of the perpetrators, the instigators, their motives and intentions.

We will not look helplessly on. We will not be good people doing nothing. A just world based on rules requires that all crimes be punished, and any injustice be corrected.

Moldova supports the creation of a Special International Tribunal that will investigate and prosecute Russia’s aggression and crimes in Ukraine. And its work should begin with the naked truth – documented, attested, and analysed so that nobody can say it did not happen.

In this way, Bucha will not be just a dreadful crime scene. It will become a first step to accountability under rule-of-law, building a case for prosecution that will also survive as a testament of our determination to live in a world governed by justice.

For this, Moldova supports the Bucha Declaration without reservation, and fully commits to this cause.

We also confirm our support to the 10-point Peace Formula, proposed by you, President Zelenskyy, to restore peace.

We stand with the brave people of Ukraine. Your victory will restore peace and justice to our common European history.

Слава України!