Prior to an informal EU Foreign Ministers Meeting in Milan, Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on 29 August on the current situation in Ukraine:
I have just had an extensive telephone conversation with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister. We have to face up to the fact that the already dangerous situation in eastern Ukraine has now entered a new dimension.
All our hopes that a direct dialogue between President Poroshenko and President Putin would lead to a de-escalation of the situation have been thwarted. On the contrary, the border violations that we see now – with even more intensity yesterday and the day before – are fuelling concerns that the situation is increasingly getting out of control.
This must stop if a direct military confrontation between the Ukrainian and Russian armed forces is to be avoided. Now, at last, reason must prevail. I say this particularly with regard to the Russian side.
There can be no military solution to the crisis. Political decision-makers in Kyiv and Moscow must therefore redouble their efforts to seek a direct dialogue. But there is little point in such dialogue unless Russia has all of its cards on the table and finally puts an end to its policy of obfuscating the facts, which we witnessed again this morning.
If this continues, then political solutions will become ever more difficult. Especially in the light of the suspicions of recent days, there is now an even greater responsibility on the part of the Russians to help pave the way towards a ceasefire so that political solutions can continue to be discussed.