The worst military escalation in Ukraine has already passed, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told students at a Russian university. He also warned of the growing alienation between the two countries and called for improved relations.
“I believe that the peak of military confrontation in Ukraine is hopefully behind us.... and I hope that we can hold on to this assessment for some days or weeks...We have a work to do to, make sure that those conflicts that I have described will not lead to a new split between East and West, and that we won't end up with a new Iron Curtain,” Steinmeier said during a lecture at the Ural Federal University in Ekaterinburg.
He also stressed that Germany and Russia have failed to do anything about different perceptions of the conflict, which have led to a new round of alienation in political and civil spheres.
Steinmeier cited the case of an employee of an embassy in Russia. She had successfully collaborated with a German organization, but eventually left, refusing to work with the international organization over the issue.
He called on both countries to move past this conflict, adding that Germany and Russia can still find their way to each other through open dialogue.
Steinmeier said that he feels the EU is not viewed as a partner in Moscow, but something of a geopolitical enemy. In return Russia is viewed by the EU as looking for its place in the world while relying on military power.