The foreign minister noted that even though "trust is a low point," the Minsk agreement "provides an opportunity for calming an extremely fragile situation and outlines the path toward a politically negotiated solution."
He stated that a substantially strengthened OSCE mission and efforts to help Kyiv with reforms are current priorities. "We need shoes on the ground far more urgently than boots," Steinmeier pointed out.
He noted that "Germany and France have engaged in a determined diplomatic effort to tackle the crisis in Ukraine with the overriding objective of de-escalating the fighting and paving the way for a political resolution. This effort, based on a closely coordinated European and transatlantic strategy, is founded on four pillars. First, we have taken a firm stance against Russia's aggression through a calibrated series of measures, including sanctions. Second, we are strengthening NATO, along the lines agreed to at the Wales summit meeting in September. Third, we are supporting Ukraine's transition through economic, humanitarian and political support. Finally, we want to engage Russia with the aim of ending the conflict and moving toward a more cooperative relationship."