US Representative for Ukraine Volker: Russia must withdraw its forces before UN peacekeepers enter Donbas

Russia must withdraw its forces so that the UN peacekeeping mission can start its work in the Donbas, and Ukraine must coordinate with the UN, US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker told Hromadske in an interview.

According to him, initially the parties must agree on the mission’s mandate and determine the composition and number of its staff. These matters are the topic of current negotiations.

He added that the mission’s presence must become a necessary element in the area of security which makes it possible to transition to the political steps prescribed in the Minsk agreements. “It is not possible to transition to other matters if security matters are not closed,” Volker said.

According to him, if the mission is created, it must be able to carry out three primary tasks.

“[The mission must] have complete control over the entire conflict zone, not just the line of contact, and move about it freely; monitor the storage of heavy weaponry – where it is located and where it is deployed. And thirdly, control the Russian-Ukrainian border,” Volker explained.

He believes that compliance with these conditions is exclusively a matter of political will.

“Minsk is not being implemented due to the absence of political will, which is driven by an absence of trust. We hope to create this will,” Volker said.

As reported, Kurt Volker arrived in Kyiv on 27 October. During his meeting with President Poroshenko, they coordinated matters relating to an international presence in the Donbas.

  Kurt Volker, UN peacekeeping mission, Donbas, Russian Troops in Ukraine, Russia, Ukraine