The invasion of Russia in Ukraine was a failure of the US and Europe – Volker
In an interview with DW , the US special envoy Kurt Volker said that Washington will not enter into separate agreements with Moscow behind the Ukrainians and Europeans, and also commented on the possibility of providing lethal weapons to Kiev.
Mr. Walker, Your recent appointment to the position was seen by many as a sign that the US administration is seeking to increase its own role in the process of finding a political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. Do You think that the European initiative – the Minsk agreement – still no results?
– All we have now is an agreement and framework which provided the restoration of international borders of Ukraine, withdrawal of all foreign military forces and the establishment of the truce. They also provide for the implementation of the political process. None of these things are not actually implemented. I would say that the Minsk agreements today do not work, in the sense that they did not bring peace and the return of Ukrainian territory, that was their goal. They are also the basis for the continuation of sanctions. So while Russia will not implement the Minsk agreements, sanctions will remain in force. In this arrangement have fulfilled their task. This was partly the reason why the Secretary of state Rex Tillerson asked me to join this issue to try to strengthen the political will for executing trades.
– You have just returned from a trip to Kiev and Minsk, where he had meetings with Russian and Ukrainian officials. The Russian side declared that “fresh idah and approaches”. Could You be more specific?
– Yes, I’ve seen some comments on the “Interfax” and I agree that we had a very constructive meeting with the assistant to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, Vladislav Surkov in Minsk – Ed.) I think she was very Frank and direct, but there were questions that we obviously have different views. First, we agreed that the status quo is disadvantageous for all parties. It is disadvantageous for Russia, for Ukraine, for the population of Donbass. And the most probable is that the situation will deteriorate. Therefore, we urgently need to make efforts in order to move forward on this issue. Second, we need a fresh approach to the issue of security. Russia has expressed concern about the security of Russian-speaking population of Eastern Ukraine. But, frankly, the only territory where Russian-speaking people are suffering, there is an area that is under the control of Russian troops. So if there is another way to ensure people’s safety without the presence of Russian troops, it probably would be better for all. We agreed to think about scenarios, we have also discussed the political process.
Ukraine not ready to join NATO, and the Alliance is not ready to accept it – the US special envoy Walker
So close are Your contacts with Germany and France? There were fears that Washington may enter into a separate agreement with Moscow behind the Europeans and Ukrainians.
– That’s not going to happen. There is no such thing, and there will be no separate agreements over the heads of the Ukrainians or behind the Europeans. In fact, I was in very close conjunction with my French and German counterparts ahead of the meeting with the representative of Russia. The US made clear that we fully support the peace process in the “channel format”. We have no intentions to become part of it or lead it. As for the Ukrainian side: I’ve had three trips to Kiev over the past six weeks, and we are in close consultation on the content of any discussion. Without a doubt, no agreements behind them will not.
– Recently You stated that the US administration is reviewing its position on providing Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons. Moscow has heard some confusion about this. Raised whether the Russians this question in conversations with You?
– I am not surprised that Russia is concerned about this. They had the opportunity to enter Ukraine and take away her territory to Annex the Crimea without encountering any resistance. Therefore, it is obvious that they will Express concern about the fact that Ukraine will be able to better protect themselves. After intrusion and the loss of part of the territory is quite understandable that the Ukrainians will be able to better protect myself. I think Russia was hoping she would be able to keep Ukraine in its orbit as part of the Russian sphere of influence and identity. But in reality, their invasion and occupation has created more nationalistic, more United and more Pro-Western Ukraine. It’s actually not very good for Russian interests. In fact, this seems to have prevented them. And this is the reality, the situation is likely to continue to deteriorate. Of course, it is also possible that Russia will worsen the situation and that it can turn into another frozen conflict. I don’t think someone wants it. In my opinion, we should work to prevent and resolve the conflict that Ukraine has returned to its territory and to guarantee the safety of all citizens of Ukraine.
– Speaking about the return of territories: a proposal to “freeze” the problem of the Crimea, until the favorable time for further negotiations. In particular this statement was made by the leader of the German Free democratic party, Christian Lindner. Do you agree with this?
– I don’t agree with it. I don’t see the difference between the Russian invasion and occupation of Crimea and Donbass. In addition, in the case of Crimea, the Russians also declared the annexation of this territory, not only of occupation, but also her assignment. I don’t think we should accept or to legitimize any of these actions. It has been said that the Minsk agreement apply only to Eastern Ukraine. And if we can make progress there, then we should try to make progress (in Crimea – Ed.) I think we need to try to make progress on all fronts. But I don’t think that progress in one direction must be held hostage to progress in another.
– In a recent interview to the Ukrainian media You call “bad” the idea of a resumption of the nuclear program of Ukraine…
– Obviously, this is a bad idea. The possession of nuclear weapons is not a real option for Ukraine and will not strengthen the security of Ukraine. Might do just the opposite. I think the failure of the international community that Russia invaded Georgia and seized part of its territory, violating the Budapest Memorandum. It including was the failure of the United States, Britain, France and the wider international community that have provided appropriate security safeguards and subsequently they did not comply. And so it is important that we not leave this issue and tried to restore the integrity of Ukraine and to ensure the safety of its citizens.
The United States will not negotiate with the Kremlin behind the Ukrainians – Walker
– Do You feel that economic sanctions imposed by the West against Russia, has proved its effectiveness?
– Yes and no. In my opinion, the fact that Russia cares about them and seeks their cancellation, suggests that the Russians have their effect, the sanctions are bothering them. At the same time Russia does not withdraw its troops from Ukraine. So in this sense they were not fully effective and did not affect decision-making in Russia.
How all this affects the relationship between the US and Russia?
President trump said President Putin in Hamburg during the summit Big twenty: refusal to resolve the conflict in Ukraine will continue to be a barrier in improving U.S.-Russian relations. So if us-Russian relations are important (and we believe that they are, and I think that Russia also holds this opinion), then the Ukrainian issue is important and needs to be solved. I think these things also contribute to the fact that Russia was thinking, is it not time to withdraw and look for other solutions to ensure security in Ukraine and implementation of the political part of Minsk agreements.
– It is clear that in the world today a lot of anxiety. But where is the question of resolving the Ukrainian crisis is among the priorities of the US administration? What are the criteria for success in the Ukrainian direction?
– In the bilateral us-Russian relations there are many other things that are important – everything from the expulsion of our diplomats and the role of Russia in the contract on liquidation of rockets of average and small range. We have such international issues as Syria and North Korea. They’re all important, but Ukraine is also important. And what would be a success: I think the Secretary of state (USA Rex – Ed.) Tillerson and the Secretary of defense (James – Ed.) Mattis clearly define it: success is the restoration of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, as well as safety for all citizens of Ukraine.
As previously reported, the special envoy of the US state Department’s Kurt Volker said that the situation in the Donbass may deteriorateif the United States would not carry out steps for resolution of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
Videoasia trying to freeze the conflict in Donbas, – Kurt Volker
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