Kurt Volcker: there was a significant restriction of political rights and freedoms in Crimea

Kurt Volker Opening Statement

Kurt Volcker: there was a significant restriction of political rights and freedoms in Crimea

Kurt Volcker: there was a significant restriction of political rights and freedoms in Crimea

Special Representative of the US Department of State for Ukraine spoke to reporters

US Department of State Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volcker answered journalists’ questions at an online press conference on the conflict in Ukraine, negotiations with Russia and the annexation of Crimea.

Kurt Volcker noted that since the occupation of Crimea in 2014, “there has been a significant restriction of political rights and freedoms on the peninsula”.

The special representative of the State Department added that the United States is “concerned about the continued occupation of Crimea by Russia, as well as the occupation and hostilities in eastern Ukraine in the Donbass.” Kurt Volcker noted that Russia also attacked the Ukrainian fleet in the Kerch Strait. “We call on Russia to immediately release the [Ukrainian] sailors and urge Russia to resume negotiations to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine” to return Kiev control of this territory, as stipulated by the Minsk agreements.

“Attacking and hijacking ships, as well as the imprisonment of sailors, are completely outside the scope of international law. Russia refused to release them. In conversations with its European allies, the US and Washington, Moscow made it clear that it would not do this during the presidential elections in Ukraine. It seems to me that this is a very cynical decision to hold people hostage because of the presidential elections. The sailors must be released immediately. “.

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Kurt Volcker noted that over the past four years, the awareness of national identity has grown in Ukraine. Society has become more pro-Ukrainian, pro-European, pro-NATO and more anti-Russian. Fundamental changes in society, according to Kurt Volcker, led to the emergence of an independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine: “This happened because of the anger, disappointment and anxiety that people felt about the subordination of the Russian Orthodox Church.”.

The special representative of the State Department believes that the accusations of the candidate for the presidency of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko that the West is responsible for the absence of peace in Ukraine do not correspond to reality. “It’s not true,” said Kurt Walker. – “All negotiations or meetings with Russian colleagues took place in close coordination with Ukraine, as well as with France and Germany. The reason is clear: it is very important that Russia sees a unified approach on the part of the United States, Ukraine, France and Germany to resolve the conflict in the east. The idea that we are negotiating about Ukraine without her knowledge is wrong. Second, I don’t think you can blame the West for the lack of peace in Ukraine or the lack of progress. Russia is the only one you can blame for this. Moscow is still in charge of the military operation. All command is Russian. She finances contractors who then take part in the hostilities. The Kremlin finances the leadership of the civil administration it created, the so-called “People’s Republic”, and yet Russia denies that it is doing so and insists that Ukraine enter into direct negotiations with these entities, which will legitimize the invasion and occupation. “.

At the same time, Kurt Volcker warned Kiev against conducting a military operation to return Crimea. “There is no military solution to this problem. This will be a disaster that will lead to the loss of tens of thousands of lives. At the same time, adhering to the legal principle that the peninsula belongs to Ukraine, establishing contacts with the local population and maintaining a unique Crimean culture that is home to the Crimean Tatars, creating an environment in which Crimea is remembered and glorified is vital. ” Preserving the memory of Crimea, Kurt Volcker believes, will help return it to Ukraine.

The special representative of the State Department noted that it depends on Ukraine how quickly it can become a NATO member. To do this, he said, it is necessary to meet a number of requirements: the presence of democracy, civilian control over the armed forces, reforms, the fight against corruption, and so on..

“[NATO membership] depends on how quickly Ukraine can advance on all these issues. In addition, NATO decides when they think it is appropriate to issue a formal invitation based on consensus. I cannot predict when this will happen. It is important that NATO has declared its principled readiness, and Ukraine will continue to make progress in achieving these standards, and when the time comes, it will be possible to do so. “.

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