German chancellor holds talks with Ukraine PM focused on reducing tensions with Russia

German chancellor holds talks with Ukraine PM focused on reducing tensions with Russia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks with Ukrainian PM  Volodymyr Groysman today in Berlin. The recent seizure of three

Seized Ukrainian ships, small armoured artillery ships and a tug boat, are seen anchored in a port of Kerch

Photo: Reuters/Pavel Rebrov

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks with Ukrainian PM  Volodymyr Groysman today in Berlin.

The recent seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels by Russian forces will undoubtedly dominate discussions today. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared 30 days of martial law in response.

Berlin has adopted a cautious approach to the conflict, primarily using diplomatic language to condemn Russia aggression. Today, Germany will seek to de-escalate the dispute by encouraging Kiev to go to the negotiating table with Russia over the issue of the ship seizures. Unless negotiations are held before other powers, like the US, have a chance to respond to the recent development, the Chancellor will be unlikely to succeed in assuaging tensions.

For example, seeing the ship seizures as a strategic security threat to Ukrainian sovereignty, the US may use the incident as justification for increased arms sales to Kiev, which, in turn, could give Russia an excuse to provide more weapons to separatist forces. The imposition of martial law in Ukraine will only add to this turbulence, leading to potential domestic unrest that could prompt Moscow to more aggressively support separatist forces in Crimea and Donbass.

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