Volker ready to meet Russian representatives to discuss Donbas conflict

Source : 112 Ukraine

The U.S. official assumes Ukraine could give Donbas special status and fix it in the Constitution, but Russia must take away its troops, provide security and release Ukrainian sailors
08:04, 19 June 2019

Kurt Volker, the U.S. Special Representative to Ukraine

US Special Representative for Ukraine's Affairs Kurt Volker is ready to meet with Russian officials to negotiate on Donbas-related issues. He said this during the report at the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The hearing of the Subcommittee concerned the situation of Ukraine and Russia's malign actions.

"I would like to meet with my Russian counterparts in the near future, but I do not know what form that will take at the moment. I am willing to meet with them to discuss a way forward, if Russia is serious about making progress', he said, commenting on the chance of talking to Russia's representatives on solving the situation in Donbas.

Volker said that "a good first step would be for Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors and vessels it seized during its unjustified attack near the Kerch Strait, which would be in keeping with the recent provisional order of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea".

Related: Volker: Lesson for Donbas is that when Russian troops leave, peace begins

The U.S. official stated that his government also remains committed to Minsk agreement implementation - "starting with the ceasefire, withdrawal of foreign forces, the disarming of the illegal armed groups, and creating a situation of security in the Donbas so that additional political steps that are also part of Minsk can be taken". "These include amnesty for people who’ve committed crimes as part of the conflict, implementing a so-called special status for the region under Ukraine’s constitution, and holding local elections, resulting in the peaceful reintegration of this territory with the rest of Ukraine", Volker said.

The diplomat also expressed hope that Russia would "finally choose peace and work with us to end the fighting". "In the meantime, it is important to continue to strengthen Ukraine and increase its resilience to better withstand Russian aggression and to support ongoing reforms to integrate Ukraine more closely with the West", he concluded.

Related: Hungary uses NATO as pressure tool, - U.S. Special Representative Volker

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