The peacekeeping UN operation in the Donbas will form the basis for implementation of the Minsk agreements, the purpose of which is to restore the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and strongly connected and international sanctions against Russia. This was stated by the US special envoy on Ukraine Kurt Volker in an interview with Russian newspaper Gazeta.ru, on the eve of his talks with Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov.
“The mission of the peacekeepers will be the basis for implementation of the Minsk agreements”, – said the representative of the United States. “The U.S. position is that the Minsk agreement was implemented, not rejected,” he added.
Walker noted that the basic idea of an international peacekeeping mission to ensure security in the conflict zone and thus ensure that Russian-speaking population will feel safe.
“One of the issues that Russia consistently raised in discussions is the need to ensure the safety of Russian-speaking population in the conflict zone. With this we also agree. The problem is that the only place in Ukraine where the Russian-speaking population is in danger, where are the Russian troops”, – he said
“Russia went too far with a military presence in Ukraine, establish control over its territories,” he said, focusing on the fact that it is an obstacle to the restoration of relations between the US and Russia. “The same thing President trump explained to President Putin at the summit big twenty in Hamburg last July,” he said.
The diplomat reminded that if the Minsk agreements are fulfilled, it will be the basis for the lifting of sanctions.
“This is the next phase, which we would like to achieve, but it will happen only after the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict,” Walker continued, explaining that Ukraine must pass its part of the Minsk agreements.
“The current sanctions are strongly linked with the Minsk agreements and aimed at the fact that Russia has provided the restoration of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”, – he said.
However, Walker also acknowledged that three years of conflict, the Minsk process has still not stopped fighting.
“People are dying there every week. The cease-fire, a truce and the further political steps, including the elections in the Donbass, – any one of these areas fails to progress. So we cannot say that the Minsk agreements are working effectively.
He expressed hope that U.S.-Russian consultations will help in the implementation of the Minsk agreements and end of conflict.
“Russia has a lot of people and equipment in the conflict zone. (…) Violations of the ceasefire occur every night. Shooting, explosions, strikes by artillery. Every day killed one Ukrainian soldier,” he said.
In addition, Volker confirmed that there is no doubt that Russia manages and controls the illegal armed forces in Eastern Ukraine.
“I don’t think the US should provide any evidence in support of this,” he concluded.
See also: Volker about voting in Parliament: Ukraine is making difficult steps towards peace