The US representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker stated that the United States does not recognize the seizure of Crimea by Russia and a long period of disagreement to determine the status of the peninsula is lying ahead.
The American diplomat made a corresponding statement during an interview with the Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy.
Volker stressed that Washington does not recognize the seizure of the Crimea by Russia.
“Fortunately, active military operations are not being conducted in the Crimea, as in the Donbas, so we need to focus on solving problems in the places where the hostilities are ongoing. And the Minsk agreements provide opportunities for this, we just need to see that the provisions of the treaty are being respected, which we do not yet observe. With the Crimea ... I think we will have a long period of disagreement about its status," Volker said.
Answering a question about whether the sanctions will continue, if Russia withdraws troops and weapons from the Donbas, but does not "return" Crimea to Ukraine, Volker said that Western sanctions belong to different categories.
“There are sanctions imposed for the claimed annexation of the Crimea. There are sanctions imposed later, for the invasion of the Donbas. There are sanctions under the Magnitsky Law. There are sanctions for Russia's interference in the American elections. And these are all different groups of sanctions," he explained.
According to him, the most severe sanctions were imposed on Russia for non-compliance with the Minsk agreements.
Volker believes that the question of what could force "the occupants to withdraw from the Donbas and return the Crimea to Ukraine, Russia needs to be reviewed" and to take a new position in the context of the architecture of European security."
“As for the Donbas, it is simpler. Russia has already stated that, within the framework of the Minsk Agreements, it agrees to sooner or later restore Ukraine’s sovereignty over its territories. So this is a question of how to get from one point to another. And this is not a matter of changing Russia's stated position, but of finding a way to turn this position into reality," the American said.
Earlier Volker said that the year 2017 was the most bloody since the beginning of the conflict in the Donbas, so the pressure on Russia should be maintained.
Reportedly, Kurt Volker intends to meet with presidential aide Vladislav Surkov next month for a new round of negotiations to resolve the situation in eastern Ukraine.