The German government prepares for a long conflict with Russia. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the crisis with Russia could take more than a decade, and Ukraine's aspirations to NATO only "adds fuel to the fire," he said in an interview with ZDF television channel on Sunday, November 30th.
"Sometimes, 14 days are enough to start a conflict, but may take 14 years to solve this conflict," the head of German diplomacy said. When asked whether the conflict with Russia could last for such a long time, Steinmeier responded positively.
For the German minister, the issue of Crimea's future appears to be unsolvable. According to Steinmeier, international recognition of the Crimea as a part of the Russian territory is impossible. "We can not either ignore the illegal annexation of the Crimea, or forget about it and just ignore this fact. The conflict between us will continue," the Foreign Minister of Germany said.
Steinmeier also said that he understands Ukraine's aspiration to NATO. "But despite this, we have to be realistic. We were involved in a dangerous conflict. In fact, there is nothing good in what we witness today," said Steinmeier.
"The issue of Ukraine's membership in NATO is not on the agenda. And I do not see Ukraine on the way to NATO ... I advocate full clarity on this issue," said Steinmeier "Others, perhaps, prefer to be more reserved in their public statements, but I know that many people think the way I do."