Foreign Minister Steinmeier spoke to the “Bild am Sonntag” newspaper about the situation in Ukraine. Published on 20 April 2014.
Pro-Russian militants in Eastern Ukraine refuse to give up their arms and vacate the buildings they have occupied. How should the West respond?
We shouldn’t start to downplay what has been achieved yet again. It was obvious that the Geneva accord would not restore peace in Ukraine overnight. Now the task is to implement the agreed goals. The OSCE mission, which Germany is participating in, will monitor the process. We are providing manpower and money for the mission in Eastern Ukraine, and are working to see that the full mission strength of 500 observers is reached as soon as possible.
US President Obama and Germany’s Minister of Defence von der Leyen are threatening to impose harsher sanctions on Russia. When will real economic sanctions be imposed?
We have already debated the question of sanctions at great length. I sometimes wish that the same energy that has been put into the debate on sanctions would also be expended on not aggravating the situation. Now what’s important is putting the accord into practice. This won’t be easy, as we are also dealing with groups who don’t listen to Kyiv or to Moscow. But one thing is certain: The hard-won agreement reached in Geneva represents a chance to de‑escalate the conflict and it has to be used. We won’t have many more chances to end this peacefully.
The questions were put by Angelika Hellemann. Reproduced by kind permission of the Axel Springer-Verlag.