Berlin 'deeply concerned' about Ukraine tension

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 28 Feb, 2014 Updated Fri 28 Feb 2014 11:36 CEST
Berlin 'deeply concerned' about Ukraine tension

UPDATE: Germany says it is "deeply concerned" over spiralling tensions in the Russian-leaning Crimea area of Ukraine.


In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland said "everything must be done to reduce the tensions in the eastern regions of  the country and to promote a peaceful dialogue between the all participating powers."
Merkel congratulated pro-EU premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Thursday, deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz said, adding that the new premier's broad parliamentary backing was an "encouraging sign".
"She emphasized that the European Union and Germany will do everything to support this new elected government," she added.
Yatsenyuk was one of the most prominent leaders of the three-month anti-government protests that swept Ukraine.
The unrest culminated in deadly violence last week that precipitated the ousting of president Viktor Yanukovych and the collapse of his government.
Wirtz also said that "events in Crimea are of great concern" to Merkel, after Ukraine on Friday accused Russia of invading the strategic peninsula when pro-Kremlin gunmen took control of its main airport.

On Thursday German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the West and Russia should not fight each other over Ukraine's future.

As tensions mount between western powers, which backed the ousting of Yanukovych, and Russia, which is now housing him, divisions within Ukraine between pro-Russians in the east and backers of the uprising have also come to a head.

Steinmeier also highlighted the need for the country's interim government to represent all Ukrainians.

"It's now up to the new government to ensure and prove that it is a government for all Ukrainians, in the north, south, east and west and that it will work together with international institutions and its neighbours to achieve financial stability in the country,” he said.

Ukraine's economy is on the brink of default - and Germany is keen for international powers to work together to re-establish fiscal stability there.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose help Ukraine has previously rejected because of terms it considered unfavourable, is likely to play a pivotal role in re-shaping the country's economy.

Steinmeier highlighted the organization's importance ahead of Friday's meeting with IMF head Christine Lagarde. "Ukraine cannot afford to run out of steam in the short-term," he said.

But both leaders also spoke in favour of Russia playing a role in re-stabilizing the country's finances.

"We're calling on Russia to play a part in efforts to provide economic stability because it's to nobody's advantage if the country goes bankrupt," Steinmeier said.

SEE ALSO: Four things Germany must now do for Ukraine


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