Germany says arms for Ukraine could stoke conflict

6th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

Germany's defence minister warned Friday that sending weapons to help Ukraine fight pro-Moscow rebels would "pour oil onto the flames" of the conflict and make a resolution less likely.

"A focus on weapons alone could pour oil onto the flames and move us further away from the desired solution," Ursula von der Leyen told the opening session of the Munich Security Conference.

"In Ukraine there are already far too many weapons," she said, arguing that in response to any move by the West, "the resupply (of weapons) to the separatists is potentially unlimited."

She questioned whether Ukraine, even if it received weapons, could win the conflict and asked: "Wouldn't this provide Russia with an excuse to openly enter the conflict?"

Von der Leyen was speaking as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande headed to Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin, a day after the European leaders visited Kiev.

The crisis diplomacy comes amid a debate in Washington on whether to send weapons to Ukraine whose army has been steadily losing ground to the increasingly well armed rebels.

In the search for a peaceful solution, Von der Leyen said, "it has to be possible to find a reconciliation of interests within Ukraine which guarantees both territorial integrity and the appropriate degree of autonomy."

© 2015 AFP

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