MOSCOW, August 19 (RIA Novosti) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit Ukraine on August 23, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said.
The press service of the Ukrainian president reported earlier that by phone he discussed with Merkel the issues, related to the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the country’s east and invited the chancellor to visit Ukraine “next week.”
“It has already been announced that the German chancellor will visit us on the eve of the national holiday [Independence Day of Ukraine, August 24],” Klimkin told Ukraine’s ICTV Channel late on Monday.
“I hope, that this visit will be interesting, with important messages. Of course, this is an expression of the chancellor’s personal support, this is an expression of Germany’s support as the key EU country,” the foreign minister stressed.
Klimkin also added that during the negotiations with Russia and the European Union on the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict, the Kiev authorities have set “a red line” they will never cross.
“These lines are simple enough. First, Ukraine is and should remain a unitary, democratic and European state and second, Ukraine should follow a European course and decide on its own how to ensure its safety,” Klimkin elaborated.
Following mass independence protests in eastern Ukrainian regions, the issue of a constitutional reform and in particular, federalization of the country, has been widely discussed. The authorities in Kiev stressed they were ready to provide the regions with more autonomy but only along Ukraine to remain a unitary state. Kiev also refuses to recognize Crimea’s reunification with Russia and proclamation of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics in the east.
On Sunday night, foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met in Berlin for talks seeking to end fighting in eastern Ukraine. According to German foreign chief Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the talks were difficult, but the sides made progress on certain points. Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov said on Monday, the sides would continue their discussion in the coming days in order to lay down mutually acceptable solutions.