In an interview with BBC, US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker believes that fighting in the east of Ukraine could cease within a year.
"We want to see peace and an end to hostilities. We want to see all citizens of Ukraine in peace and security. This could become the basis for beginning full implementation of the Minsk agreements. And all this could be achieved in 12 months," Volker said.
He also noted that the level of violence in eastern Ukraine increased significantly in 2017.
"We saw a sharp increase in the number of violations of the ceasefire provisions compared to the previous two years. And this is happening with the participation of forces that Russia controls and instructs," Volker said.
"We offered Ukraine defensive weapons, for example, anti-tank weapons. They may only be used if tanks are coming at you, and if [your] supplies are quite small compared to the number of tanks that Russia has deployed in the east of Ukraine ... Of course, all these weapons are not effective for offensive operations and the escalation of the conflict. But I hope that our step demonstrates the presence of serious political support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," the US special envoy for Ukraine added.
He also stressed that Ukraine has the right, as an independent country, to defend itself against aggression and to seek help from other countries "to close gaps in its defense."
"And Kyiv has such gaps. The United States and other countries are trying to help close them," Volker noted.
On January 23, Volker arrived on an official visit to Ukraine. He discussed the situation in the Donbas with President Petro Poroshenko, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko, and the Minister for Temporary Occupied Territories IDPs Vadym Chernysh. On January 24, Volker discussed a bill on the reintegration of the Donbas with the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), Oleksandr Turchynov.
Volker said in an interview with LB.ua In November last year that the United States’ goal is to achieve full restoration of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.