German, French foreign ministers act to ease Ukraine crisis

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his new French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault are to travel to Kiev on Monday as part of a European bid to help ease the political crisis in Ukraine.

The two ministers plan to hold meetings with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the German Foreign Ministry said.

Steinmeier has repeatedly urged Ukraine's warring political factions to remain committed to reforming the economy, despite the political tensions gripping the country.

Ukraine was plunged into a fresh political crisis earlier this week when Poroshenko suggested that Yatsenyuk resign from his post.

Yatsenyuk narrowly survived a parliamentary motion for a vote of no confidence, but his pro-Western coalition lost its legislative majority after two parties pulled out of the alliance.

On Thursday, US Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Poroshenko's decision to oust Ukraine's prosecutor general amid corruption allegations, according to a White House statement.

Biden "urged Poroshenko to continue on this positive trajectory, to include successful implementation of ... new legislation and continued visible progress on anti-corruption reforms," the statement said.

Poroshenko has become significantly unpopular as Ukrainians increasingly believe he has failed to fulfil the goals of a protest movement that swept him to power in 2014, US-based pollster Gallup said in December.

Poroshenko's approval rating among the Ukrainian people has fallen to a meagre 17 per cent, well below the 28 per cent that his pro-Russian predecessor Viktor Yanukovych had before being ousted, the pollster said in a statement on its website.

Last update: Fri, 19/02/2016 - 15:08

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