Germany's foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel has floated the idea of a step-by-step lifting of the EU sanctions on Russia should a UN-monitored ceasefire be established in eastern Ukraine. In the meantime the EU has tightened the reins on Ukraine and is holding back on financial aid for Kiev on the grounds that it hasn't fulfilled the terms. Commentators of the countries in question examine the situation.
West has had enough of Kiev's dithering
Gabriel's proposal won't bring Ukraine any closer to peace, journalist Oleh Borovsky writes in Ukrayina Moloda:
“The West has had enough of the Ukrainian leadership's lack of determination to solve the problem through its own means and is taxed by the need to continue the sanctions to the detriment of its own financial interests. This year could be a problematic one for Ukraine. Because Gabriel has simply put into words what various Western leaders have been thinking for some time now. But a 'permanent' ceasefire like that which the Kremlin would effect would be short-lived - lasting only until the sanctions are lifted.”
Brussels wants to see progress against corruption
The state-owned daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta examines the EU's statement that as things stand now Kiev cannot count on receiving its next tranche of financial aid amounting to 600 million euros:
“All the demands and accusations levelled at Kiev by the EU focus on one thing: the rampant corruption that President Poroshenko cannot or does not want to bring under control. As a result of the corruption scandals the EU has even deferred its call for a free market for farmland. ... Granted, there is a certain logic to this: people in Brussels fear that Ukrainian black earth will fall entirely into the hands of corrupt government advisors and oligarchs as soon as trading on a large scale begins. The only way to force Kiev to behave according to European standards is - in the West's view - to set up a special anti-corruption tribunal.”