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Foreign Minister Gabriel on the current situation in eastern Ukraine

22.02.2017 - Press release

Foreign Minister Gabriel issued the following statement today (22 February) on the current situation in eastern Ukraine:

Alarming reports are reaching us once again today from eastern Ukraine. The fact is that the agreed ceasefire is not holding. According to the OSCE, heavy weapons were used again last night – and this was the case at several points along the line of contact.

At our meeting in the Normandy format on the margins of the Munich Security Conference both sides – Moscow and Kyiv – undertook to use their influence to implement the points agreed by the Trilateral Contact Group on 15 February.

This includes the withdrawal of heavy weapons and complete adherence to the ceasefire by 20 February. It also includes informing the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission about the current position data of the heavy weapons so that the observers can monitor their withdrawal. So far, neither has happened – on either side.

Those who make an undertaking on Saturday that no longer applies just a few days later share responsibility for downgrading the negotiating process.

We can only call urgently on both sides to now implement the agreed steps immediately. Otherwise, we run the risk of greater military escalation, with a large number of further civilian victims, and a continuation of the standstill in the political process.

Even the most intensive negotiation endeavours come to nothing if the political will to implement agreements is lacking.

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