'Not too late' for peaceful Ukraine solution: Germany

3rd March 2014, Comments 0 comments

Germany believes it is not too late for the crisis in Ukraine to be resolved peacefully, a government spokesman said Monday.

Berlin and its partners support a solution "away from the logic of troop movements and the logic of soldier deployments and back to dialogue", said spokesman Steffen Seibert.

He said he saw "no military option" and that the German government "is not thinking in military terms" about the crisis.

After Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with various leaders over the weekend, Seibert said Berlin would do everything it could to help end the Ukraine crisis.

"It is not yet too late to solve this crisis politically and peacefully," he told reporters.

It is also not too late for Moscow to show "signs" it will respect international agreements relating to Ukraine and help wind down tensions in the east of the former Soviet country and the strategic peninsula of Crimea, he said.

He was referring to the 1994 Budapest Memorandum in which the United States, Britain and Russia agreed to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and the 1997 treaty on the Russian Black Sea fleet based in Crimea.

Merkel has held separate phone talks with US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in recent days.

Putin agreed to her proposal to set up a "contact group" on Ukraine as well as a Crimea fact-finding mission, the German government said Sunday.

"There are many reports, many rumours reaching us from Crimea. What's missing is an objective assessment of the situation on the peninsula and there such a mission can be very useful," Seibert said Monday.

Germany also indicated it was well prepared in the event of Russian gas and oil supplies being interrupted by the crisis in Ukraine.

"The gas tanks are good and full," an economy ministry spokeswoman told reporters.

"We are well prepared for possible delivery shortages," she said, adding however there were currently no indications of any shortages of either gas or crude oil.

Germany receives 35 percent of its natural gas and 35 percent of its crude oil from Russia, she said.

© 2014 AFP

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