Angela Merkel once again urged President Vladimir Putin to use his influence over the separatists.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken with many of her counterparts by telephone, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President François Hollande, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and once again with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The overriding issue was the same in all cases – the unacceptable situation in the wake of the crash of the Malaysia Airlines passenger aircraft in eastern Ukraine, in particular the disastrous way the separatists are dealing with victims. All heads of state and government agreed that an independent international commission must swiftly be granted unhindered access to the crash site.
Urgent need for a meeting between the Contact Group and the separatists
Once again the Chancellor urged the Russian President strongly to use his influence over the separatists so that a direct meeting between the Contact Group and the separatists can be held as soon as possible. The Contact Group consists of representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
On Saturday, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin agreed in a telephone conversation that there must be a swift meeting between the Contact Group and the separatists to agree on a ceasefire. During this conversation the Chancellor also called on Vladimir Putin to use his influence over the separatists to bring this about.
Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin agreed that an international, independent commission headed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) should investigate the circumstances surrounding the aircraft crash. The commission should ascertain the reasons for the crash and recover the victims.
Angela Merkel appalled by the disaster
On Friday the Chancellor spoke by telephone with the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, all of whom agreed that an independent investigations should be launched without delay.
With a view to the many victims, including a large number of Dutch citizens, the Chancellor spoke of her shock and horror. Government spokesperson Steffen Seibert reported that she had expressed her condolences to the families who are mourning victims.
Risk of further escalation
Should the indications that the aircraft was shot down be confirmed, this would be a further serious escalation of the conflict, Steffen Seibert continued. Now, more than ever before, it is time for a ceasefire respected by both sides so that this disaster can be fully investigated and to avoid any more civilian victims. President Petro Poroshenko has declared his unchanged readiness to accept a ceasefire.
Russia must do its bit for peace
Angela Merkel, Petro Poroshenko, Mark Rutte and Donald Tusk agreed that Russia must clearly and publicly use its influence over the separatists at last, "to give peace a chance".
At the summer press conference too Angela Merkel stressed earlier that Russia has the responsibility to make its contribution. A precondition for de-escalation is still a ceasefire respected by both sides. There is no alternative, she stated.
The gesture of good will of President Petro Poroshenko, who announced a unilateral ceasefire, had not brought about any appropriate response, said Angela Merkel. At the latest European Council meeting in Brussels, sanctions against Russia were given a new dimension. Now sanctions can be imposed on companies involved in actions in Crimea or in destabilising the country.
Weimar Triangle Foreign Ministers call for ceasefire
In the meantime the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland called for an immediate ceasefire, so that the incident can be investigated. There must be a "thorough investigation into the causes and circumstances of the plane crash," stated Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Laurent Fabius and Radoslaw Sikorski in a joint statement. For this there must be "an immediate cessation of hostilities and full access to the area for international teams".
"Should it be corroborated that the plane was actually shot down, those responsible will be held accountable," declared the foreign ministers of the Weimar Triangle. The incident demonstrates that the situation in eastern Ukraine has become "utterly dangerous".