Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement regarding the situation in Ukraine on the fringes of the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme in Lausanne on 29 March:
We must be careful not to allow the implementation of the Minsk agreements to get bogged down now. In the course of the Ukraine crisis, we have seen on multiple occasions that, if the process comes to a standstill, then a slippery slope towards a renewed military escalation is almost impossible to avoid. We have to stay on the ball now, especially with regard to the political process. There are many open questions that should be addressed in working groups in the context of the Contact Group. This cannot be put off any longer. The same also applies to swift and thorough preparations of local elections in the areas occupied by the separatists.
The OSCE observer mission’s latest spot report sheds light on a fresh increase in hostilities. This gives me great cause for concern. Both sides – the separatists and also the Ukrainian security forces – are urgently called upon to respect the letter and spirit of the Minsk agreements and to cease firing at the respective opposing side.
I welcome President Poroshenko’s clear commitment to ensuring that the so‑called oligarchs do not exert excessive political and economic influence. The volunteer battalions must now be brought under the firm command of the Ukrainian Government.