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German FM sees `no grounds for optimism` in Ukraine

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Tuesday he was not optimistic about an end to the crisis in Ukraine because of a "dangerous" escalation of fighting in the east.



Moscow: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Tuesday he was not optimistic about an end to the crisis in Ukraine because of a "dangerous" escalation of fighting in the east.

"There are no grounds for optimism in the current situation," Steinmeier said at a press conference after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, following a visit to Ukraine earlier.

Steinmeier appealed to all sides not to abandon the Minsk ceasefire agreement signed on September 5, which appears increasingly threadbare.

"Even if there are reasons to say that the most important obligations have not been fulfilled, abandoning this document would be a great loss," he said.

A "huge effort" was required to give the negotiations to find a solution to the crisis fresh impetus, he added.

"The Minsk agreements are not perfect but it is the only thing that has been supported by all the key players -- the European Union, the United States, the parties to the Ukrainian conflict and Russia," Steinmeier said.

Steinmeier`s visit to Moscow was the first by a senior European minister since July, as relations between the West and Russia have plunged to a post-Cold War low over the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

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