Van Boven doubts how many dignitaries have traveled to Ukraine in recent months. “The Marechaussee often has discussions about whether such a visit is necessary. Ultimately, it is our people who face the greatest risks.”
The interests of security and VIPs often collide; For example, the Marechaussee prefers that no one knows about the visit. “But there are politicians who want to show their presence there, and the diplomatic mission can take care of the notoriety.”
Former ambassador and chief diplomat Robert Serry acknowledges this tension. He was working for the United Nations in Jerusalem and was given permanent guard there. He traveled regularly to the Gaza Strip. “I definitely had struggles at times with the person who decided whether or not I could go somewhere. Sometimes I thought I really should go, and then I did.”
Siri found such visits exciting, but he always trusted his security. “I knew when I went somewhere, everything was covered as best I could.” He did not feel threatened quickly, except for the time he entered the Gaza Strip and was told that the Israelis would resume bombing. Immediately turned around.
“So you’re in a difficult situation,” says Siri. “On the way back to the border post we actually saw the missiles flying.” “The same thing can happen in Ukraine. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, no security guard can guarantee your safety.”
It’s ultimately a duel between security and the VIP, as former security guard Van Boven knows it. “The eminent one must trust us, but we also have to make it very clear why something is or isn’t possible. It’s collaboration: relying on judgment, intent, and experience.”
Boris Johnson was one of the first heads of government to visit Kyiv:
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