What You Need To Know:
✓ “The Ukrainian conflict is far from being solved";
✓ The Minsk peace deal 'is the only game in town' both for Russia & Ukraine;
✓ There's a progress within the Minsk deal: military de-escalation, re-start of a political process, beginning of a reconciliation;
✓ "Ukraine reforms are not sustainable yet.”
The Ukrainian conflict is far from being solve, Johannes Regenbrecht, The Head of the German MFA’s Ukraine Taskforce warns Hromadske. Nevertheless, the Minsk peace deal is still a crucial process and has already reached three goals: military de-escalation, the start of a political process involving Russia and the beginning of reconciliation between Ukraine and rebel-held territories, Regenbrecht thinks. He adds, that the Minsk peace deal "might be better than its reputation" and still is "the only game in town" for both Russia and Ukraine.
He also explains that diplomacy had to extend the application of the Minsk agreements because the organization of elections in Donbas needs some special security conditions: “In order to prepare free and fair elections based on the principles of the Minsk, we need some more time. They have to be based on the Ukrainian law, on the OSCE standards, and they have to be observed by international community”.
Answering the question about possible rollback of the Russian sanctions, Regenbrecht admits rising pressure: “There is some pressure from German business, from people who would like to come back to the previous situation. Personally, I expect that the sanctions might be extended for a certain period of time, it is now under discussion in European institutions. Germany’s position remains unchanged: we fully condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia."
Talking about reforms in Ukraine, Regenbrecht believes that “first steps have been taken, but reforms are not sustainable yet”. But the main problem remains the fight against corruption: “Ukraine needs to intensify the fight against corruption, we need a functional anti-corruption bureau, a functional office of prosecution against corruption and we need a functional public prosecution office”.
Hromadske's Nataliya Gumenyuk spoke to Johannes Regenbrecht, the head of the German MFA’s Ukraine Taskforce in Kyiv in December 2015.