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Politics 2019-03-15T04:06:18+02:00
Ukrainian news
U.S. Special Envoy Volker: Russia Holding Ukrainian Sailors As Political Act Aimed At Pressuring Ukraine On Ev

U.S. Special Envoy Volker: Russia Holding Ukrainian Sailors As Political Act Aimed At Pressuring Ukraine On Eve Of Presidential Elections; Additional Sanctions Possible

The United States’ Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker believes that Russia is holding Ukrainian sailors as a political step aimed at putting pressure on the Ukrainian authorities on the eve of the March 31 presidential elections, and he is not ruling out the possibility of imposition of additional sanctions on Russia because of this.

Volker announced this during a telephonic press briefing, Ukrainian News Agency reports.

"Russia continues to illegally hold Ukrainian sailors and illegally charge them. Russia intends to hold them at least until April, when presidential elections will be held. This gives the impression that this is more of a political move by Russia to use the captured sailors to put pressure on Ukraine…" he said.

According to him, the United States and the European Union continue to insist on release of the sailors and they are considering additional measures against Russia.

“I visited Brussels in December, met with representatives of the EU and NATO, and I can say that the United States and Europe are considering additional measures if Russia does not return the sailors. The United States will review the ‘Crimean sanctions’ in February. The EU is discussing additional sanctions, although nothing has been agreed yet, but they will also hold a meeting of foreign ministers in February," he said.

Volker also expressed the hope that Russia will release the Ukrainian sailors so that his negotiations with Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov could continue and advance.

He noted that United States President Donald Trump canceled his scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin because of the Russian aggression in the Kerch Strait. Volker also canceled his planned meeting with Surkov.

As Ukrainian News Agency earlier reported, Volker has expressed support for the initiative of Germany and France to monitor the passage of ships through the Kerch Strait and believes that the “peace plan” proposed by the Chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Special Representative in the Trilateral Contact Group on resolution of the conflict in Donbas (Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Martin Sajdik for resolving the conflict in Donbas can be implemented if Russia agrees to deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Donbas.


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