Ben Cardin, a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed concern about the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which are designed to reduce tensions in eastern Ukraine. Completed a year ago, the Minsk Agreements represent a package of measures related to security and policy, agreed to by Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia, to resolve the conflict in the Donbas region.
"Thursday was the first anniversary of the Minsk Agreements. While all parties expressed the readiness to participate in a peaceful settlement of the crisis in eastern Ukraine, I remain concerned that the implementation of the Minsk Agreements is Russia's rationale for the violence perpetrated by the separatists. If Russia is serious about the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, it should immediately withdraw all its military equipment from the Ukraine and ensure the access of OSCE monitors to the occupied territories," the Senator said.
"I understand that our Ukrainian friends should also implement the political elements of the Minsk Agreements – to amend the Constitution and hold elections – but before that, we need to see the real progress by the Russians in the security sphere. The fighting continues, each day there are about 60 attacks. There are more tanks in the region at the moment than observers of the OSCE. These tanks move through the region without boundaries, while the OSCE observers are severely restricted in their movements. The U.S. and the EU should maintain and even consider strengthening sanctions against Russia until it fully implements the Minsk Agreements," the member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Senate, Ben Cardin, said.