Chancellor Merkel has once again spoken on the telephone with Ukrainian President Poroschenko and French President Hollande. Stricter border controls by Russia and the continuation of negotiations on gas supplies remain on the agenda.
Both telephone conversations focused on the current situation in Ukraine. They also concerned possible ways to bring about a ceasefire and implement the peace plan announced by President Poroschenko.
Federal Government Spokesman Steffen Seibert explained that Federal Chancellor Merkel and President Poroschenko agreed that Russia must “control its borders with Ukraine effectively in order to halt or at least restrict the influx of weapons and fighters.” This is the only way to ensure a lasting ceasefire, he continued.
The Russian government must “assert its influence on the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine” to put an end to their violence, said Seibert. He stressed that the Chancellor “expressly welcomed” the direct contact between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents in this respect. She believes that “only by working together can the urgently needed de-escalation be achieved”.
Talks suspended on Monday regarding Russia’s gas supplies to the Ukraine should be resumed, in the opinion of Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier. Following a meeting with the foreign ministers of the three Baltic States in Tallinn, he said: “We expect Russia to be open to a continuation of these negotiations.”
The Deputy Government Spokesperson Georg Streiter also said on Monday: “We are not assuming that the talks have failed for good, rather we see this as an agreement that is yet to be reached.” There will be continued efforts to reach an agreement, he said, “and so we should not yet give up hope”.
Streiter continued: "We welcome the efforts of the EU Commission to resume these talks.” The Spokesperson for the Federal Foreign Office added: “It is not yet the end of the road for these negotiations.” The talks have been suspended several times before, but both sides and the EU are "ultimately committed to cooperating with one another in a rational manner.” For this reason Germany is “insistent” in its support of EU Commissioner Oettinger’s efforts to “effect an amicable outcome to the negotiations” between the disputing parties.
With the participation of the EU, Ukraine and Russia are holding talks on gas supplies. The goal is to secure energy supplies from Russia to Ukraine for the future. The focus is on the future price of gas: this should be based on the “normal market prices” in Europe and at the same time take into account Ukraine’s payment arrears. On 16 June the Russian state-owned supplier Gazprom halted its supplies to Ukraine indefinitely. However, this has no direct consequences for other countries supplied with Russian natural gas.
“We are continuing to push for a ceasefire”, explained Government Spokesperson Streiter, clarifying that: “It is not a stable situation. This makes us uneasy. We would like it to be stable.”
Our position is unchanged: “We are prepared to take more far-reaching measures if further steps by the Russian Federation lead to increased de-stabilisation”, said Government Spokesperson Streiter on the situation in general. “Everything that is happening there at the moment is not exactly helping to bring about stabilisation.”