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Ukraine minister: Minsk deal 'only alternative'

May 16, 2017

Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak has spoken to DW following meetings in Berlin with his German counterpart. Poltorak said the Minsk agreement was the 'only alternative' to fighting with Russia.

Ukraine | Zerstörung durch Artillerie
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/D. Lovetsky

'Minsk agreement is the only alternative to fighting'


In an interview with DW on Tuesday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said his discussions with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen focused on the ways "practical levels" of cooperation between the two countries could be increased.

Ukraine Verteidigungsminister Stepan Poltorak
Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan PoltorakImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/S. Chuzavkov

Ukraine has been involved in a conflict with Russian-backed separatists for over two years in the eastern Ukrainian region known as Donbass. A number of Ukraine's allies, including Germany and the larger NATO alliance, have tried various diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.

That includes the Minsk agreement – a ceasefire agreement brokered by Germany and France between the separatists and Ukraine that has been on the table for two years.

While it has reduced the violence, conflicts still flare, and the two sides are still far from a political resolution of the conflict.

Despite the many starts and stops of the Minsk agreement, Poltorak told DW it "is the only alternative to fighting Russia."

mz/jm (dpa, AFP)