Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (24 August) before his departure for Kyiv:
We want to make faster progress in the Minsk process – that is why I am travelling to Kyiv today. My visit falls on Independence Day in Ukraine, and I would like to take this opportunity to offer all Ukrainian citizens my heartfelt congratulations! This day is a particular incentive for us to continue to work intensively on finding a solution to the existing conflicts, especially in Eastern Ukraine.
The ceasefire, which has held for more than four weeks, is the longest since 2014, and that is a sign of hope. We want to build on that. Today, together with my counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, I therefore intend to examine how this positive momentum can now be used to send important political signals. I will also meet representatives from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. Its work as an independent observer and impartial body remains immensely important.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also hit Ukraine very hard. I am therefore glad that we have been able to strengthen our bilateral cooperation to overcome this pandemic. This flanks our support for key reform projects in Ukraine in the fields of justice and anti-corruption. In this regard, the crisis has put our bilateral relations on an even broader footing. Today I also want to build on this.