Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement today (30 July) on the current situation in Ukraine and the latest steps Europe has taken in its crisis diplomacy.
The chaos in eastern Ukraine is not dying down. The violence has been escalating for months now, everyday sees further loss of life. A tragic climax came when flight MH17 was shot down and 300 people lost their lives. In their strongholds, the groups of separatist soldiers are digging in and holding the civilian population hostage. Weapons are still making it over the Russian-Ukrainian border and reaching the separatists.
The EU has responded to this with a broad consensus, adopting harsh measures, for the first time including economic sanctions, targeting those responsible and their supporters.
However, sanctions alone do not constitute a policy. Therefore we must continue to search for political options to de-escalate the conflict. At the meeting between the international contact group and representatives of eastern Ukraine set to take place in Minsk this week, agreement must be reached on steps towards a ceasefire. A ceasefire and credible halt to the flow of weapons being delivered to the separatists would offer the chance to reopen political discussions on a solution to the conflict.
Irrespective of this, all sides are called upon to give the OSCE observers and international experts unfettered access to the crash site of flight MH17. It is unacceptable that two weeks on no dignified burial has taken place for the dead remaining at the crash site.