Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement today (30 April) ahead of the Foreign Ministers meeting in the Normandy format:
The COVID‑19 pandemic has hit people in eastern Ukraine hard. The older sections of the population in particular are suffering as a result of the current closure of the contact line. That is why we are now working to quickly achieve humanitarian progress in this crisis. We will therefore discuss the opening of the contact line as well as the issue of crossing points. Such advances would make life easier for people living in eastern Ukraine.
Together with France, we have endeavoured to create an atmosphere through the Normandy format which will bring about tangible progress. Now we need a clear commitment from Russia and Ukraine, whose role it is to implement the Minsk agreements. In our view, this must entail the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission being able to carry out its work throughout Ukraine – without any restrictions or hindrances. The agreements cannot be implemented without the objective assessment of the Special Monitoring Mission, for the mutual distrust is too great. Russia knows this and must bring its influence to bear on the separatists.
We want to fully implement the decisions we made in the Normandy format in Paris last December. Initial progress has been achieved, for example with respect to the exchange of prisoners. If we can build on that, then we can also make advances in other points. To that end, we want to issue a clear political mandate today so that implementation can move forward in the Trilateral Contact Group.