EU discusses additional sanctions

Ukraine EU discusses additional sanctions

The German government is in favour of imposing harsher sanctions on Russia; this will be on the agenda of the special European Council meeting this weekend. It also demands an explanation of the most recent events. There can be no justification for any violation of the Ukrainian border, declared federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert.

"The German government wants to see a diplomatic solution, but we are forced to recognise that the situation has deteriorated over the last few days, and that things have become more difficult," said government spokesperson Steffen Seibert commenting on the increased presence of Russian troops and the advances of separatists into hitherto more peaceful parts of Ukraine.

"We expect an explanation from Russia regarding the reports of repeated violations of the Ukrainian border, which together add up to a military intervention," declared Steffen Seibert. Nothing can justify these actions, he added.

Angela Merkel speaks by telephone with Barack Obama

The latest developments in Ukraine were also the focus of a telephone call between Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama on 28 August.

The Chancellor and the President agreed that Russia’s actions must have consequences. Angela Merkel underscored the fact that the German government will continue to work for a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

Harsher sanctions

The situation in Ukraine and harsher sanctions on Russia will be on the agenda at the meeting of the European Council on 30 August in Brussels. "As the Chancellor has repeatedly pointed out, should the situation escalate we will have to discuss the possibility of further sanctions," said the government spokesperson on Friday.

One day earlier, Angela Merkel had pointed out that the EU agreed to this procedure back in March. "The matter will thus be on the agenda of the Council meeting, and we will have to consider how we are going to respond," explained the Chancellor.

Political solution

In spite of the new stage in escalation in Ukraine, the German government still aims to see a political resolution to the conflict. "We want to see diplomatic solutions and we will not let up in our efforts," said Angela Merkel on Thursday in Berlin.

Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also believes that there can be no military solution to the conflict. In spite of the worsening escalation, his spokesperson Martin Schäfer announced that he would be available for talks to avoid any further worsening of the situation and make possible a political solution.

Martin Schäfer and government spokesperson Steffen Seibert stressed that a ceasefire must be linked to the security of the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Russian influence needed

The German government urges Russia to exert a moderating influence on the pro-Russian separatists. On Wednesday evening the Chancellor once again made it quite clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia must do its bit to de-escalate the crisis. Government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said on Friday that he regretted that the reverse was the case; that Russia is currently using its influence to keep tensions high.