During the meeting between federal minister heiko maas and his russian counterpart sergej lavrov in moscow, there was a heated exchange of views on media freedom in both countries.
Maas criticized in particular the arrest of a deutsche welle employee during the anti-government protests in moscow. "This is an absolutely incomprehensible process," he said. Lavrov rejected this and complained that employees of the state television station RT (russia today) and the state agency in the EU were sometimes prevented from doing their work. So there have been cases of journalists being excluded from press conferences.
Lavrov stressed that western media were not obstructed in reporting on the protests. "There is access everywhere," says russian chief diplomat. Maas openly doubted lavrov’s claims that russian media were blocked or excluded: "otherwise they wouldn’t be standing around everywhere," he said.
The russian auben ministry had accused deutsche welle – germany’s foreign broadcaster – of inciting the protests in moscow. The station had rejected this and accused russia of "methods of a police state. Thousands of people were arrested during unauthorized actions in the russian capital, including some journalists from western media.
The U.S. Also faced accusations that it was used to block demonstrations against the exclusion of the opposition in the moscow city council elections on 8. September support. The russian parliament has now set up a committee to investigate foreign interference in the protests.
Maas categorically rejects accusations of german interference in russia’s internal affairs. "It is not realistic – neither in the present nor in the future – to believe that germany or german media want to influence or even initiate domestic political developments," he said. At the same time, maas stressed that russia, as a member of the council of europe, has committed itself to protecting freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.
The central topic of the meeting was the frozen conflict in eastern ukraine. Maas insisted on an early meeting between russia and ukraine under german-french mediation to get peace talks back on track. "There must be no new victims in this war," the SPD politician said. Even in recent times, people have lost their lives. "This must be put to an end."
There is currently a "momentum" that makes many things possible, maas emphasized. In eastern ukraine, pro-russian separatists and ukrainian government troops have been fighting each other since 2014. Germany and france have been trying to mediate between ukraine and russia for five years in the so-called normandy format. Since ukrainian president volodymyr selensky took office at the end of may, there has been renewed hope for movement in the deadlocked conflict.
Selensky urges an early normandy summit at the level of heads of state and government. The last time something like this happened was in 2016. French president emmanuel macron said tuesday after a meeting with his russian counterpart vladimir putin that a summit could take place in the "next few weeks.
However, a summit meeting could be preceded by a meeting of the auben ministers. Maas hinted that this could happen very soon after the formation of the government in kiev was completed. Ukraine’s new parliament to convene in september. After the election on 21 september, selensky. July future majority.
Maas again called on russia to release the 24 sailors who have been in russian custody since november. They were forcibly stopped and detained by the russian coast guard while attempting to cross from the black sea into the sea of azov. The men face up to six years in prison. According to russian opinion, they should have announced the passage in the strait of kerch. But in this way they had violated the state border of russia.
On thursday, minister maas plans to meet with young people and representatives of russian civil society. A visit to the sakharov human rights center and the innovation district skolkovo is planned. Lavrov and maas last met this year just over a month ago at the forum st. St. Petersburg dialogue met near bonn.
This time, maas had to fly to moscow on a bundeswehr troop carrier due to a defect in the government plane. The reason: the plane that was supposed to fly had to be repaired at short notice because of a broken fastening clamp in a hydraulic system. As a result, the SPD politician had to switch from the white A340 VIP airbus to a much less comfortable and older A310 aircraft, which is normally used to fly soldiers to theaters of operations. But there was no delay.