Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement today (3 January) before departing for Ukraine:
Last year, we witnessed the most violent months in eastern Ukraine since the signing of the Minsk agreements. Too many shots are still being fired in the Donbas and there are still too many heavy weapons in the region.
There were two recent signs of hope in the form of an exchange of hundreds of prisoners and the agreement of a Christmas truce. This is how things must continue. It is with this in mind that I am flying to Kyiv today and then to Mariupol tomorrow, in order to make it clear to the people in Ukraine that we will not abandon them. For us, this conflict is neither frozen nor forgotten, but is highly topical and dangerous. We will continue to do our utmost to achieve a solution to this crisis that will bring peace to the region at long last.
Foreign Minister Gabriel is travelling to Kyiv on 3 January, and from there to the contact line near Mariupol on 4 January. He will hold political talks in Ukraine, including with Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and the members of the OSCE monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine. The talks with the Ukrainian Government will also focus on Ukraine’s reform policy, in particular the fight against corruption.