Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin before setting off for Ukraine:
These are crucial days and weeks for Ukraine in its struggle to find a way towards a more stable political and economic future which will give the people of the country real prospects.
The crisis in eastern Ukraine is far from over. On the contrary: the constant violations of the ceasefire mean there is still a danger of renewed military escalation, which would ruin all our efforts to defuse the situation. An armistice is not the be-all and end-all, but if there is no lasting, sustainable silence of the guns, it will not be possible to implement the agreements reached in Minsk as quickly, as purposefully and as comprehensively as the situation urgently warrants.
Ukraine deserves a real chance to implement the necessary far-reaching, root-and-branch reforms. This will require strong political will in Kyiv, but also active and lasting help from the international community. I can assure the Ukrainian leadership of Germany’s support for this course.
I am particularly keen to talk to the OSCE observers, who are doing an important job. Without the OSCE’s engagement in eastern Ukraine, we certainly would not have come as far as we have.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier is travelling to Kyiv on Friday (29 May) for political talks. He will also be meeting representatives of the OSCE. On Saturday (30 May) Foreign Minister Steinmeier will be visiting Dnipropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine to see for himself how things stand, and particularly to get an idea of the situation of the internal refugees.