German-Russian Appeal: Solve Ukraine Crisis by Diplomacy and Dialogue

The foreign ministers of Russia and Germany, Sergey Lavrov and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, met in Moscow Thursday night, and Friday morning, for talks about bilateral relations as well as about the international crisis hotspots.

“We discussed the situation in Ukraine. Russia and Germany think that the Ukrainians should resolve the political crisis themselves; this will be for their own sake,” Lavrov said at the two diplomats’ joint press conference yesterday. “We believe that our other Ukrainian partners also back this idea.”

Russia and Germany are calling on the Ukrainians to find their own way to settle the political crisis in the country, Lavrov said. “We have discussed the situation in Ukraine.” “Russia and Germany urge that Ukrainian people to find the way to defuse the political crisis on their own.”

Steinmeier struck a similar chord, reiterating remarks he had before made in an interview with the Kommersant daily published Friday morning as well: A solution in Ukraine must be found by the conflict partners in a dialogue and without violence. There “is not a lack of discussion partners, there is a lack of trust,” Steinmeier said, calling on Russian diplomacy to contribute and influence Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in that direction. Steinmeier was scheduled to also meet the Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and discuss these issues today.

German diplomacy has been activated also on another, albeit risky terrain: So far, a mediation role on Ukraine had been rejected by Germans, but now, Chancellor Angela Merkel will receive the two Ukrainian opposition leaders Vitaly Klitschko and Arseni Yatsenyuk in Berlin on Feb. 18. Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok has not been invited—whether that is really a sign of something more positive, will be seen after that meeting.

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