MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to him, the agreements helped to prevent the confrontation in eastern Ukraine from escalating into a major military conflict beyond anyone’s control.
"Implementation of the Minsk agreements is indeed progressing at a snail’s pace. For months now, we’ve been involved in tedious efforts to make progress, and it is all the more frustrating when there is almost none to be found anywhere," Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.
Steinmeier added that reaching solutions required a long time, therefore it was necessary to remain "tenacious" and keep eyes fixed on the Minsk process.
In April 2014, Kiev launched a special military operation in Ukraine’s southeast, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, which came to power as a result of what many considered to be a coup. In February 2015, a peace agreement was signed between Ukraine’s conflicting sides in Minsk after marathon talks of the Normandy Four leaders, comprising Russia, Germany, Ukraine and France.
The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, an all-for-all prisoner exchange and constitutional reforms, which would give a special status to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Both sides of the conflict, however, are constantly accusing each other of violations of the agreement.