Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on 14 February, at a press conference with his Peruvian counterpart Gonzalo Gutiérrez in Lima:
There are still a few hours to go until the ceasefire agreed on in Minsk enters into force. The mounting tension is palpable, in diplomatic circles and certainly in the combat zones. I hope that all parties, the conflict parties in particular, are aware that a feat such as the one we achieved through the 17-hour-long negotiations in Minsk cannot be easily repeated. If this chance escapes us then the option of de-escalating the serious conflict in eastern Ukraine through negotiation will disappear for a long time.
That is why I am taking this opportunity to appeal – all the way from Peru – to the parties to the conflict in Kyiv, Moscow and especially the leaders of the separatists to let reason prevail and to ensure that this conflict is not escalated to the next level and does not spread through the region.
Everyone must be aware that if we fail in this endeavour now, then all those involved in the region but above all the people in eastern Ukraine, and that is paramount here, will be forced to pay a very high price.