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  Foreign Minister Gabriel in Ukraine: "For us this conflict is not forgotten" – Politics | Bit Updates
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Foreign Minister Gabriel in Ukraine: "For us this conflict is not forgotten" – Politics

Thursday, January 4th, 2018 | bitcoin updates

The trip to Ukraine should be a sign of solidarity. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) said before his departure that he wanted to show people in Ukraine: "We will not let you down. For us, this conflict is neither frozen nor forgotten, but highly topical and fire-dangerous. "For the first time, Gabriel also wanted to travel to the embattled eastern Ukraine, the so-called contact line that separates Ukrainian troops from the separatists and the fighters from Russia. Gabriel's Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin had invited him to this visit. But the trip ended on Thursday differently than planned already in Dnipro: Because of fog, the ministers could not continue by helicopter to Mariupol. In spring, the beginning of the war marks the fourth time in eastern Ukraine. More than 10 000 people were killed in this conflict, according to UN information 3.4 million Ukrainians need humanitarian aid. Peace can not be talked about today. Just before Christmas, another ceasefire was negotiated. But again, it is not respected, day after day, the observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Donbass hostilities register. On good days, they only record fewer explosions and firefights. The withdrawal of heavy weapons from a buffer zone on both sides of the contact line, which was also agreed in 2014 and 2015 in the Minsk Agreement, has not yet been completed. From the start, Germany had taken on a mediation role with France and negotiated the Minsk agreements. Just before Christmas, a major exchange of prisoners between Ukrainian government forces and their Russia-backed opponents raised hopes that the peace process could finally move on. For the exchange of prisoners of war had also been decided in the Minsk Agreement. However, this point is not fully implemented, because not all prisoners are still free. Russia withdrew officers from the control center As a step back, it is also estimated that Russia withdrew its officers from a joint control and coordination center in Ukraine in December. The Center served as an important focal point for OSCE observers. The Russian leadership still does not admit that it is fueling the war in eastern Ukraine with fighters and weapons. Gabriel advocated in Kiev for a swift decision on a UN peacekeeping mission for eastern Ukraine. A similar proposal was made by Russian President Vladimir Putin last year. However, Russia initially demanded that the use of such a UN Blue Helm force be limited to the contact line and its immediate surroundings. Gabriel strongly denied this demand in Kiev: "That would make today's line of contact a de facto barrier," he said. "An armed and robust UN peacekeeping mission capable of securing this cease-fire across the whole of eastern Ukraine would be a sensible solution." Ukraine has been calling for such a mission, which could effectively control the border with Russia in particular. The existing mission of the OSCE is unarmed and has the sole task of monitoring compliance with the Minsk Agreements. Annoyance over Gabriel's proposal for sanctionsBut in September, Gabriel had caused anger in Kiev with comments on the sanctions imposed on Russia. The Foreign Minister spoke in favor of lifting the punitive measures even before the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements: "There is no point in waiting," he said at the time. If a ceasefire was enforced and the heavy weapons withdrawn, the sanctions could be lifted as a "reward". Ukrainian politicians then accused Gabriel of being too close to the Kremlin. The fact that in Kiev he now described Moscow's proposals for a UN peacekeeping force as "certainly not sufficient" will have been very accurately recorded by his Ukrainian hosts.


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