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Foreign Minister Steinmeier on the current situation in Ukraine

21.07.2014 - Press release

During a press conference in Berlin today (21 July) with his Hungarian counterpart Tibor Navracsics, Foreign Minister Steinmeier commented as follows on the current situation in Ukraine:

(...) The situation in Ukraine at present shows what it means when peace and stability become remote.

Not only the terrible deaths of hundreds of innocent people in the plane crash just a few days ago, but also the horrendous images of the crash site and the heartless conduct of the separatists have quite rightly provoked shock and indignation around the world.

The fact that the victims’ mortal remains have been treated with such a lack of compassion, that the separatists are still not prepared to hand them over four days after the crash and that a swift investigation of the crash site by international experts is still being prevented – all of this shows quite clearly what kind of people we are dealing with!

Unfortunately, it is still not apparent whether Russia really is putting the separatists under pressure to end the unseemly activity at the crash site and to allow the necessary international investigation to begin.

At present, some of my colleagues – including the Dutch Foreign Minister – are in New York to draft and, if possible, adopt a Security Council resolution which sets out clear demands and expectations vis‑a‑vis the separatists’ conduct, thus enabling the deceased to have a dignified burial in their home countries and allowing the international investigation to begin.

It could be that some progress is being made there at present. At any rate, I expect Russia to take a constructive stand in the Security Council in New York in any vote.

The key to a resolution can only be a ceasefire, on which we – the Foreign Ministers of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany – conducted negotiations almost three weeks ago here in Berlin. This will require the gaps in the border, through which fighters and weapons are clearly still infiltrating eastern Ukraine, to be closed.

Time is of the essence if an even more dramatic escalation is to be averted!

The European Foreign Ministers will discuss all of this tomorrow. Our meeting tomorrow will not be an easy one. We will have to increase the pressure in order to get the results which all European Foreign Ministers believe are vital.

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