Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN
We are here because Russia continues to occupy Ukraine’s autonomous region of Crimea, in defiance of international law, in defiance of its treaty obligations, the Helsinki Final Act, and the resolution passed by 100 members of the UN General Assembly that rejected the phony Crimea referendum and that called for Ukraine’s territorial integrity to be respected. Its authorities there have opened criminal cases against critics of the occupation and specifically targeted the Tatar community, subjecting them to beatings, arbitrary detentions, and police raids.
All sides must seize the opportunity to bring this conflict to a peaceful end. This year has seen some progress in this direction, with fewer casualties and some limited weapons withdrawals, and now is the time to implement Minsk and settle this conflict. This would allow the people of Ukraine to resume normal life and focus on building the democratic, European society that Ukrainians have fought and in many cases died for.
Pavlo Klimkin, Foreign Minister of Ukraine
We expected all provisions of the Minsk agreement to be fulfilled by the end of the passing year. It didn't happen, and the peace is not there yet. One can only make peace if he wants peace. Ukraine does, because peace is our chance to survive.
We will not sacrifice our freedom, and after the war is over, we will make our own decisions and choices. Whoever thinks he can break Ukraine... he's wrong.
Linas Linkevicius, Foreign Minister of Lithuania
Russia-backed militants should leave Donbas, withdraw their heavy weapons, release and exchange prisoners. Local elections in Donbas that are slated for spring 2016 can't be held under gun barrels, so the militants should leave to ensure fair and free election.
Vitaliy Churkin, Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN
The tension grew in the last few weeks as Ukrainian troops attack the vicinities of Donetsk. That only makes the situation more complicated, as 2 million people reside in the areas located close to the frontline. The humanitarian situation is critical - the locals living near the frontline are cut from water and power supplies.
The ultimate solution of the conflict in Donbas depends on many things, including political will of all parties. That, unfortunately, Ukraine lacks.