Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak, His Deputy Ihor Zhovkva, Adviser to the President of Ukraine Ruslan Demchenko, as well as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, Vice Prime Minister - Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Oleksiy Reznikov and Defense Minister Andriy Taran made a working visit to Germany.
During the visit, members of the Ukrainian delegation met with German Federal Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, Foreign Policy Adviser to German Chancellor Jan Hecker and Economic Adviser to German Chancellor Lars-Hendrik Röller.
Ukraine is grateful to the German side for its support within the Normandy format, as well as for its support of reforms, Andriy Yermak said.
Representatives of Ukraine and Germany discussed issues of bilateral cooperation and exchanged experiences on combating the coronavirus pandemic. Particular attention was paid to joint efforts to achieve peace in eastern Ukraine.
During the talks, the parties discussed the status of implementation of the agreements concluded following the summit of the Normandy Four in Paris in December 2019.
At a meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Andriy Yermak spoke about the details of the talks within the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk. He also announced the renewal of the composition and raising the status of the Ukrainian delegation in the TCG.
"Ukraine is categorically dissatisfied with the slow progress in the Minsk format. That is why we are doing everything possible to make the negotiations more effective. We have not only offered to convert meetings into video conference 24/7 format. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has significantly expanded the Ukrainian delegation within the Minsk Group and raised the status of its members,” the Head of the President's Office said.
The parties agreed that significant progress had been achieved in the mutual release of captives since the December summit of the Normandy Four.
"We have noted the progress in the release of captives. However, the movement towards the next mutual release, unfortunately, is still slowed down. And we are hindered not only by the coronavirus epidemic, but also by the other party's failure to comply with the agreement of the Normandy summit in Paris on the admission of representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross to captives in the temporarily occupied territories," Andriy Yermak said.
The Head of the Office of the President also conveyed greetings from President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
During talks with German Federal Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Andriy Yermak noted that measures to implement a full and comprehensive ceasefire, which has not yet been fulfilled, should be taken to accelerate progress towards peace.
"We have conveyed to our partners our concern that the most important condition for achieving peace is not being met - the shelling continues! From December 19 last year to May 29, more than 1,500 shelling cases conducted by illegal armed groups were recorded. During this period, 33 Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 235 were wounded. The militants continue to use weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements," the Head of the President's Office noted.
It was stressed that Russia and the illegal armed groups under its control should provide the observers of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission with safe and secure access to the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. It is also important that the parties implement the updated demining plan and continue the disengagement of forces and assets under verification by the OSCE SMM. These agreements of the Normandy summit must also be implemented.
In addition, the interlocutors noted the need to open new checkpoints across the line of delimitation given primarily humanitarian criteria.
The participants of the meeting discussed opportunities for deepening cooperation between Ukraine and NATO, as well as issues of bilateral cooperation.
During the discussion with Economic Adviser to German Chancellor Lars-Hendrik Röller, the issues of bilateral economic cooperation were raised, in particular, financial support to Ukraine and investments.
"We are extremely grateful to Germany and personally to Chancellor Angela Merkel and all our interlocutors today for their firm and consistent position in support of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty. They have once again demonstrated that Germany is a good and reliable friend of Ukraine, and we feel great support," Andriy Yermak summed up.