It is about the People in Eastern Ukraine
Chancellor Angela Merkel meets President Petro PoroshenkoApril 12th, 2018
At a press conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that there is still no real ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. Progress on implementing the Minsk agreements has "unfortunately been very modest, to put it positively".
Angela Merkel assured Petro Poroshenko that the German government intends to pursue the idea of a UN peace keeping force. The German government will continue to endeavour to have the ceasefire respected and to complete the exchange of prisoners.
A group of high-ranking political appointees are to travel to Ukraine in order to provide support inside the country. In the second half of the year there is also to be a third German-Ukrainian business forum in order to reinvigorate bilateral cooperation.
Conflict resolution in the Normandy Group
Along with France, Ukraine and Russia, Germany will continue to seek a solution to the situation. The Chancellor stressed, "Even if it is difficult, we must not let up in our efforts. Because what is at stake is human lives; it is about soldiers losing their lives and above all it is about the people in eastern Ukraine."
The Normandy format takes its name from the first meeting of this sort between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Presidents François Hollande, Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko on 6 June 2014 in Normandy. Since then negotiations between these four parties have been taking place at different levels. The aim is to achieve the practical implementation of the 13-point package of measures agreed on 11 and 12 February 2015 in Minsk, covering primarily a ceasefire, withdrawal of troops and political reforms. At the top-level meeting held on 19 October 2016 in Berlin, a roadmap was adopted for the implementation of these Minsk agreements, with a view to restoring the Ukrainian government’s control over the separatist-controlled areas in the east of the country.
Implementation has been sluggish and has at times come to a complete standstill.
Nord Stream 2: Taking political factors into account
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was also on the agenda of the talks between Angela Merkel and Petro Poroshenko. The pipeline is to carry additional gas from Russia directly across the Baltic Sea to Germany and on to West Europe.
Although the German government sees it as an economic project, political factors must also be taken into account. "We need clarity over Ukraine’s role as a transit country," said the Chancellor.