Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (28 June) on the release of the OSCE observers:
I am relieved to confirm that the four hostages, who were held for almost four weeks by separatists in eastern Ukraine, have been released and are now in a safe location in Donetsk. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the negotiations that have now led to their release – above all the OSCE which led the negotiations.
My thanks also go to the Trilateral Contact Group, in which Russia is playing an important role. Russia has also made compromises in this group and played its part in making this release possible. I am very pleased about this and I hope that the four observers – including one German – will be able to travel out of the country tomorrow.
The ceasefire in eastern Ukraine was once again extended yesterday by President Poroshenko. This is a positive sign. But this is just the beginning of a process. There must be a permanent ceasefire if a negotiated solution is to be given a chance. The laboriously reached agreements between Kyiv and the separatists must now be given some kind of structure that makes their implementation possible.
The OSCE can and should play a key role in monitoring the ceasefire and managing the borders. But it will only be able to do this if there is a safe working environment for OSCE monitors. It must be guaranteed that the OSCE can safely carry out its work in the region in order to contribute to the development of peace and stability in Ukraine.