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German foreign minister urges to end Ukraine conflict in face of memory of Stalingrad

May 07, 2015, 20:21 UTC+3
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the city of Volgograd, formely Stalingrad, scene of the battle that turned the course of World War Two
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© Dmitry Rogulin/TASS

VOLGOGRAD, May 7. /TASS/. Everyone should think how to peacefully resolve the conflict in Ukraine in the face of memory of the Battle of Stalingrad, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday.

"Because of the crisis in Ukraine, it is particularly important for me to be here to pay tribute to those who died," Steinmeier told a news conference after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in the city of Volgograd, which as Stalingrad was scene of the battle that turned the course of World War Two.

"No matter how difficult it is and whatever differences our sides may have on various issues, we should try to resolve the conflict in Ukraine as soon as possible," he said.

Steinmeier added that representatives of the Trilateral Contact Group on the Ukraine crisis, assembled in the Belarusian capital Minsk on Wednesday, had managed to make progress towards reaching a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian crisis.

He said the meeting, which brought together representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), marked "the transition to the next phase of the implementation of the Minsk agreements".

"I hope that the sides will continue to move further forward," he said.

The deal struck on February 12 in Minsk, Belarus, by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias starting from February 15. This was to be followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line by at least 15 kilometres (9 miles), prisoner release and agreement for international observers to monitor the truce.

Among the terms of the deal was also a commitment to intensify the work of the Contact Group through "the establishment of working groups on the implementation of relevant aspects of the Minsk agreements."

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