After speaking many times by telephone and video conference, Foreign Minister Maas was able to welcome his Ukrainian counterpart to the Federal Foreign Office for the first time today in person.
A ceasefire is essential
The two ministers discussed the situation in eastern Ukraine in depth. Four weeks after the most recent Normandy-format Foreign Ministers meeting, Maas and Kuleba were in agreement that new momentum is needed to implement the decisions. The uppermost priority is to implement a permanent and verifiable ceasefire.
Ensuring access across the contact line
However, constructive steps are also needed in other areas. The civilian population needs further crossing points along the contact line between areas under government control and those controlled by separatists. This line tears families apart and drastically curtails essential supplies of cash, food and medicines. Furthermore, humanitarian organisations such as the Red Cross and UN agencies need unimpeded access to the occupied territories.
Foreign Minister Maas said:
The fact that there are only five crossing points along the over 400-kilometre-long contact line is a thorn in people’s sides and lives. We must change this.
Close cooperation on the reform agenda and the fight against the impact of the corona crisis
Foreign Minister Maas welcomed the progress achieved on implementing reforms in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Government recently adopted a land market reform and a banking law that provide the basis for an agreement with the IMF and send an important message to international donors. However, further steps still need to be taken as regards the rule of law and combating corruption. Germany wants to support Ukraine in these areas.
Germany has also provided support at EU level to help Ukraine fight the impact of the corona crisis.
Foreign Minister Maas commented on this as follows:
It is obvious that an economically difficult time lies ahead of us all. Ukraine can count on solidarity from Germany and the EU as a whole.