Steinmeier promises Ukraine ‘full support’

Steinmeier promises Ukraine 'full support'
Petro Poroshenko and Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA
In advance of a Berlin visit by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he will offer him 'full support' as well as remind him of his responsibilities.

Steinmeier said the situation in Ukraine was was still “fragile.”

“We can't be complacent. We must use all our resources to stabilise what has so far been achieved and to enter into the political process which was laid out in the Minsk accords.”
But, he said that it must undertake reforms to tackle widespread corruption and to overhaul the state bureaucracy.

According to the accords, signed in February at a summit between France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia, all prisoners of war are to be exchanged and heavy weaponry must be withdraw from the front lines.

Each side accuses the other of breaking the terms of the ceasefire.

In Berlin, Poroshenko is set to meet German President, Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel. Talks are to centre on the urgent economic situation in Ukraine.

Steinmeier described a loan of over €4.7 billion given to Ukraine by the International Monetary Fund as having given the country “breathing space.”

“Now there is time for reform and economic and social stabilization of the country,” the Foreign Minister said.

Poroshenko has demanded that the European Union maintain its sanctions against Moscow at least until the end of the year.

In an interview with Bild, the Ukrianian President said that without the sanctions, the Russian backed separatists in the east of his country would neither respect the ceasefire nor withdraw their heavy weaponry from the front lines.

Poroshenko also called for the German government to provide more military technology including drones, radar reconnaissance and night vision goggles.

The visit coincides with the one-year anniversary of the referendum in Crimea after which Russia took control of the peninsula.

Western countries view the move as a violation of international law and responded by imposing a series of sanctions on Russia in the summer of 2014.

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