Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has been received by his German counterpart Joachim Gauck at Schloss Bellevue palace in Berlin. Poroshenko appealed for help in the German press ahead of his trip.
German President Joachim Gauck welcomed his Ukrainian counterpart late on Monday morning in Berlin, after Poroshenko's impassioned appeal for German support in mass-circulation daily "Bild" prior to his arrival. Poroshenko said that Russia "knows no such thing as red lines any more," saying that, in practice, the Minsk ceasefire deal was "not working."
As Poroshenko arrived in Berlin, European foreign ministers gathered in Brussels for regular talks, expected to focus on the conflict in Ukraine and plans to deal with migrants into the EU. There, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned against giving up on the framework peace deal hammered out in Belarus earlier this year.
German officials are expected to urge Poroshenko to do more in Ukraine's fight against corruption, not separatists
"I am of the opinion that it is still worthwhile - with a view to the developments of the last few days, with a view to the ceasefire broadly holding, with a view to heavy weaponry being withdrawn for the most part - to continue working towards the implementation of the Minsk Agreement," Steinmeier said. "I hope that this is and continues to be the collective view of the matter."
Steinmeier also told reporters that he would be interested to hear Poroshenko's comments after his talks in Berlin, as opposed to those in the press prior to his arrival.
After his reception with military honors at the Schloss Bellevue palace, Poroshenko joined Germany's Gauck for private talks. Later on Monday, Kyiv's president will hold further talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by a joint press conference. The visit comes one year after the referendum in Crimea which paved the way for Russia to annex the peninsula.
msh/rc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)