Sigmar Gabriel

Sigmar Gabriel


© EPA-EFE/FELIPE TRUEBA

BERLIN, December 2. /TASS/. Ukraine’s authorities tried to draw Germany into a war after an incident with Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait, former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told news channel NTV.

“I think we should not let Ukraine draw us into a war, and Ukraine tried to do that,” Gabriel said in an interview, voicing concerns over the situation in the Sea of Azov.

In an interview, published by Tagesspiegel newspaper on Saturday, Gabriel also criticized Kiev’s demands to send warships to the Black Sea and its suggestion to close international ports for Russian vessels traveling from the Sea of Azov.

The former top diplomat believes that Germany’s role should be to conduct efforts for de-escalation and mediation rather than to stir up a conflict. He suggested taking advantage of a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, which Germany will get in January, to ensure the creation of a UN mission for Donbass.

“Finally establishing a ceasefire, achieving the withdrawal of heavy armaments from both sides and then to make the first step towards lifting sanctions – that’s the only way out of this absolutely hopeless conflict,” Gabriel told the paper.

On November 25, three Ukrainian warships violated the rules of passage through Russia’s territorial sea when heading from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. Despite the repeated warnings and demands to stop, the Ukrainian vessels continued their way, forcing Russia to use weapons. All three Ukrainian ships were detained and taken to Kerch. Three Ukrainian servicemen were slightly wounded and received medical assistance, and their lives are not under threat. A criminal case has been launched over the violation of Russia’s state border. Moscow slammed the incident as a provocation. The EU and NATO called for de-escalation, while Ukraine’s authorities imposed martial law.

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