WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Providing lethal assistance to Ukraine might expand the ongoing conflict in the country and bring Ukraine to the point of no return, German Foreign Affairs Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on Thursday.
Ukrainian leaders have asked their Western partners to supply the country with lethal arms. While talks on the delivery of lethal weapons to Ukraine are still underway in the United States, a number of European countries, including Germany and France, have refused to supply Kiev with weapons.
Steinmeier underlined the importance of a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian conflict, and noted that some progress has been made by both parties in implementing the Minsk agreements.
Also, Steinmeier stressed that both parties in the Ukrainian conflict have made some progress in implementing the agreements.
“We are experiencing some violations of the ceasefire, but we do see some signs of progress,” Steinmeier stated at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on Thursday.
Steinmeier noted that the violence has significantly reduced, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has access to a greater number of places in Eastern Ukraine.
“Both parties, the Ukrainian army and the separatists have finally, with some delay, started withdrawal of heavy weapons,” he added.
The German Foreign Minister stressed that the improvements are only first steps, and much more needs to be done to solve the Ukrainian conflict.
The OSCE Deputy Chief Monitor in Ukraine told journalists on Thursday that the ceasefire is holding broadly along the contact line in Eastern Ukraine with the exception of some key strategic points where minor clashes occur.
Ceasefire in Ukraine's conflict-torn Donbas region was stipulated by an agreement worked out by the leaders of Russia, France, Ukraine and Germany in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, and was later signed by the envoys of the independence supporters and Kiev. The ceasefire came into force on February 15.