Ukraine must participate in negotiations and in any deal struck between Russia and the United States to end violence in eastern Ukraine, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Olena Zerkal said on January 25. This was reported by Reuters.
Ukraine, which has been battling pro-Russian separatists in its eastern Donbas region for nearly three years, is worried that US President Donald Trump will cut Kyiv out of any peace negotiations as he attempts to improve ties with Moscow.
"Because we are talking about the future of our country, we don't want to be excluded from the negotiations. We don't want to be a card (to be played). We want to be an actor," Olena Zerkal said.
"I don't believe in gentleman's agreements anymore," Zerkal added, noting Russia had violated an earlier deal - the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, under which Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan gave up nuclear weapons in exchange for assurances of territorial integrity - when it annexed Crimea.
Zerkal reminded of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's call for the West to maintain sanctions imposed against Russia over the 2014 annexation of Crimea and its support for the separatists in the Donbas.
"This is the only tool we all have in order to prevent (Russian President Vladimir) Putin from a further spree of aggression," she said.
Earlier it was reported that US Senators try to prevent Trump from lifting sanctions against Russia
“We repeal sanctions, it tells Russia, 'Go ahead and interfere in our elections and do bad things,' said Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.