Berlin tells Ukraine warring parties to stop holding up peace
Germany's foreign minister on Tuesday urged warring parties in the Ukraine conflict to respect a peace accord and move on to a lasting deal, telling them to stop drawing out the process.
On the eve of talks in Berlin with his French, Russian and Ukrainian colleagues, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that “in terms of seeking a political solution, things have been moving along at snail’s pace, millimetre by millimetre”.
“It cannot go on like that,” he said, pointing out that efforts to get Moscow, Kiev and the pro-Russian separatists to implement a peace deal done in the Belarussian capital of Minsk have gone on for months.
The German minister said he was pinning hopes on Wednesday’s talks to ensure “progress in the security aspect, in the preparations for local elections and in the organisation of security for these local elections in order to prevent any return to escalation”.
Germany and France are spearheading efforts to end the fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland by creating conditions for separatist elections that could grant the rebel Donetsk and Lugansk regions limited autonomy.
The West accuses Russia of supporting the revolt, which has now killed more than 9,300 people, a charge Moscow vehemently denies.
Along with Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s strategic peninsula of Crimea, the war has plunged Moscow’s relations with the West to a post-Cold War low.