Withdrawal of Russian advisors is the wrong signal

Situation in eastern Ukraine Withdrawal of Russian advisors is the wrong signal

Russia’s continued support for the “Joint Centre for Control and Coordination” in eastern Ukraine is of major importance. The Chancellor emphasised this in her telephone conversation with President Putin. Solutions for continuing the Russian commitment should be found.

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the telephone on 21 December, in which they discussed the development in Ukraine. One topic was the recent withdrawal of the Russian military advisors from the so-called “Joint Centre for Control and Coordination”, in which Ukrainian and Russian military representatives are in direct contact with one another.

Deputy government spokesperson Ulrike Demmer explained on Friday that this centre makes “a significant contribution for sustaining ceasefire and towards supporting observers of the OSCE”.

Withdrawal of Russian military: “Entirely the wrong signal”

The Russian withdrawal, according to Demmer, sends out “entirely the wrong signal” in the current situation. The federal government hopes “that Russia will reverse this measure, because this is the only way it can fulfil its responsibility for the safety of the SMM--Special Monitoring Mission and for the people in eastern Ukraine”.

Impressive success in the fight against corruption

Regarding the situation in the fight against corruption, the deputy government spokesperson also highlighted that the reform efforts which the Ukrainian government had previously undertaken “are impressive, in light of the extremely difficult situation, particularly in the eastern part of the country”.

This especially applies to the health care reform determined this year, the good progress made in decentralisation and the electronic declaration of income and assets for state officials introduced in 2016.

Do not restrict the work of the anti-corruption authority

With regards to the work of the Ukrainian anti-corruption authority, Demmer stressed that the federal government was “paying great attention” to all developments in this context. “Independent authorities are required in order to fight corruption successfully and credibly. Restricting this work would send out the wrong signal.”

The resolute fight against corruption, according to the deputy government spokesperson, is a “central element on the road towards social and economic stability in Ukraine”. The federal government firmly supports Ukraine on this path.