Steinmeier heads to Ukraine after EU talks

AFP - [email protected] • 21 Mar, 2014 Updated Fri 21 Mar 2014 12:43 CEST
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Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit Ukraine on Saturday for talks with interim leaders in Kiev and a governor in the country's east, an official said.

He will meet interim prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and interim president Oleksandr Turchynov and then travel to Donetsk in the east, to meet the local governor and other officials.

"Foreign Minister Steinmeier will tomorrow travel to Ukraine for the day," said a ministry spokesman.

"Mr Steinmeier will seek a first-hand assessment of the situation from the new political leadership."

"The aim of the trip is to express German support for the political and economic stabilisation of Ukraine and to make clear at the same time that we want the new government and leadership in Ukraine to govern for all Ukrainians."

Amid the Ukraine turmoil and standoff with Russia, Steinmeier has engaged in weeks of shuttle diplomacy, warning that the crisis could bring a new "division of Europe" and urging continued dialogue with Moscow.

The announcement of his trip came as Yatsenyuk signed a political agreement with the European Union - and demanded gas supplies from Europe.

He said it was urgent that Ukraine received energy in "the reverse direction" as Russia had breached its contract agreements and doubled gas prices.

"We must all pay the price for peace, stability, security and values," he said. "The best way to control Russia is to exert real economic pressure."

READ MORE: 'Germany should moot Russian gas ban'



AFP 2014/03/21 12:43

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