Germany′s Sigmar Gabriel to visit Ukraine conflict zones | News | DW | 03.01.2018

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Germany's Sigmar Gabriel to visit Ukraine conflict zones

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel is set to visit the areas near the Ukrainian frontline during a two-day trip to the country. He is expected to discus Berlin's diplomatic role in "countering Russian aggression."

Germany's top diplomat Sigmar Gabriel will arrive in Ukraine on Wednesday for talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Pavel Klimkin. The two ministers will discuss the implementation of the Minsk peace accords.

"The key issue of the talks will be the role of Germany, alongside France, in the Normandy format to counter Russian aggression," the Ukrainian ministry said in a statement. "On this account, the minister will discuss further joint steps to restore the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine as well as the release of Ukrainian prisoners captured by Russians."

Read more: Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels begin landmark prisoner swap

After the talks, Gabriel and Klimkin are expected to travel to eastern Ukraine and visit the areas near the demarcation line between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian insurgents.

Read more: NATO chief predicts increased dialogue with Russia in 2018

The two officials are also set to discuss the "dynamic and fruitful" bilateral ties between Germany and Ukraine, as Berlin "provides significant practical assistance in implementing systemic reforms in Ukraine," the statement added.

Read more: Kyiv protesters rally over murder of crusading lawyer Iryina Nozdrovska

Watch video 02:13

Eastern Ukraine: Growing up in a war zone

Ukraine has been struggling financially since the Maidan revolution in 2014, burdened by the fighting on the east, political divisions, and rampant corruption. The UN estimates that over 10,300 have been killed in the conflict with the pro-Russian rebels.

dj/rt (dpa, Interfax, Ukrainski Novini)