Ukraine crisis 'harder and harder' to resolve

Pro-Ukrainian supporters sing the national anthem during a rally in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol on April 23, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/ ANATOLII STEPANOV)

CHISINAU: Germany's foreign minister warned Wednesday that the crisis in Ukraine was getting "harder and harder" to resolve, as the most serious confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War showed no sign of abating.

"Each day that passes... makes a solution harder and harder to reach," Frank-Walter Steinmeier said while on a trip to Moldova, urging Moscow and Kiev to seize the "opportunity" of a deal reached in Geneva last week to defuse the crisis.

Steinmeier and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius were on a brief visit to Chisinau to show their support for Moldova's bid to formally sign a political and trade agreement with the European Union.

The agreement is the same one that was rejected by then Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in November, triggering mass protests against his regime that eventually led to his ouster and Moscow's absorption of the pro-Russian peninsula of Crimea.

Moldova is set to sign the so-called Association Agreement at the end of June, and France's Fabius gave assurances it would not be a barrier to the country's ties with Russia.

"There is no contradiction... with continuing your good relations with Russia," Fabius said of the EU deal while speaking at the joint press conference with Moldovan counterpart Moldovan Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman.

Moldova also has a pro-Russian breakaway region Transdniestr, which last week called on Russia and the international community to recognise its independence, sparking fears that the developments in neighbouring Ukraine could set an example for its own separatists.





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