German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says the supply of German-made weapons to Ukraine could affect negotiations with Russia on the need to hold meetings in the Normandy Four format to settle the Donbas conflict.
The statement came as Maas was speaking at a joint press conference with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Berlin on Wednesday, an UNIAN correspondent reports.
Read alsoGermany rejects Ukrainian request for arms deliveries – ReutersMaas noted that during talks with Kuleba, the issue of providing weapons to Ukraine was brought up.
"As for the arms supplies, I said when, together with Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of European and Foreign Affairs of France, we called Mr Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, to set up the meeting in the Normandy format, where Germany and France play the role of mediators, during this phone call, if I were to say that we decided to supply weapons to one of the parties to the conflict, I think that phone call would have been much shorter than it actually was," Maas emphasized.
According to him, German authorities seek to continue helping Ukraine so that it develops its economy and improves the well-being of its citizens.
"We also want to support Ukraine’s security and its security interests, and we want to make a contribution so that peace reigns in Donbas. These are our priorities," Maas said.
He added that Ukraine can continue to count on Germany's support in these matters.
The foreign minister, on behalf of the German government, once again assured Kuleba that Germany would remain a reliable partner and donor for Ukraine if it agrees to implement various bilateral programs to support reforms.
Read alsoEnvoy to Berlin: Putin's insane goal to destroy independent UkraineMaas added that Germany could further expand its aid to Ukraine.
He noted that the German government clearly expressed its support for the sovereignty of Ukraine when Russia pulled thousands of troops to the Ukrainian border. Germany also made statements, as a NATO Ally and part of G7, about support for Ukraine.
Issue of German arms supplies for Ukraine
On June 1, in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine expressed the opinion that Germany could provide Ukraine with missile and patrol boats, assault rifles, radio equipment, and other military aid.