The Belgian royal family's scheduled visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been cancelled due to international tensions from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a press release published on the Palais Royal’s website.
The royal visit, originally scheduled for 6-10 March, will be postponed until a later date. According to the Palais Royal, the decision was made in close consultation with the DRC’s president, Antoine Tshisekedi.
“As a result of the invasion of Ukraine and the crisis which has followed,” the statement reads, “it has been decided… to postpone the visit of their majesty the King and Queen to the DRC, planned for the 6-10 March, until a later date.”
On 24 February, Russia launched a full-scale offensive against Ukraine, intending to encircle Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and capture key cities across Ukraine. This escalation in the Ukraine crisis has been widely condemned by the international community, with Western powers moving to place heavy sanctions against the Russian leadership and companies.
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In the context of this invasion, and larger fears for collective European security, the King is scheduled to meet his Defence Staff on 1 March to be briefed on the situation in Ukraine, alongside Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Cross, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès, and Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder.