American Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met Putin’s aide Vladislav Surkov and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and made several statements on the Donbas. In particular, Nuland noted Russia’s fulfillment of the Minsk agreements and holding of legitimate elections in the occupied part of the Donbas.
According to the US Assistant Secretary of State, the parties should 'hit the gas' to speed up the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
'Our president always says that when they made an agreement, the sanctions will be lifted. We want the fastest possible implementation of these agreements. Now it’s high time to 'hit the gas' and to see the agreements to be fully implemented. This will have a positive impact on peace and security in Ukraine. This will have a positive impact on bilateral relations between Russia and Ukraine and the relations between Russia and the USA,' Nuland stressed.
Despite the fact that the US is not a participant of the Norman format, it works on speeding-up of the negotiations both with Kyiv and Moscow, she adds.
Furthermore, Nuland devoted heer visit to issues of strengthening security in the east of Ukraine.
'We have analyzed all the aspects of the Minsk talks, how we will be able to strengthen security, improve the access of the OSCE, make progress in the political commitments, including the preparation for the elections in the Donbass,' Nuland said.
Moreover, the Assistant Secretary of State stresses that if the elections aren’t to be held in accordance with the Minsk agreements, the US will refuse to recognize them.
'Our view is permanent: these should be Ukrainian elections which meet Ukrainian standards and the OSCE’s standards,' Nuland concluded.
After that U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine shared on Facebook:
'Press Availability by Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NULAND: Hello everybody. It’s nice to see you. We are just completing a very constructive round of consultations here in Moscow. Yesterday, we had a very thorough discussion, led on the Russian side by Presidential Administration Senior Advisor Surkov, on the whole complex issues associated with the Minsk Agreements. Today here at the Foreign Ministry, I had a chance to see Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov to talk about our bilateral relationship. Yesterday, we dug very deeply on all aspects of the Minsk negotiations – how we can improve security, how we can improve OSCE access, how we move forward to complete the political obligations on Minsk, including preparations for an election in Donbas. As you all know, the United States is not a participant in the Normandy Format, but we have agreed with all of the Normandy partners that we will work in parallel to try to reinforce these negotiations, working both with Kyiv and with Moscow. As you know, we were in Kyiv a couple of weeks ago and Secretary Kerry also discussed these issues with Foreign Minister Lavrov in Vienna two days ago. The United States’ view is that we want to see Minsk implemented as soon as possible. We think that it’s now time to really step on the gas and see this implemented. It will be good for peace and security in Ukraine. It will be good for relations between Russia and Ukraine. And it will be good for relations between the U.S. and our allies and Russia if we can move forward on this. And as the president has said, as our president has said, if and when Minsk is fully implemented, sanctions can be rolled back. So I go home having had a constructive round of talks. It’s important to keep talking, it’s important to keep trying to solve these issues together.
REPORTER’S QUESTION: Regarding local elections in Donbas, if self-proclaimed republics decide to hold elections on their own, without Kiev’s involvement, would the U.S. recognize their results? If so, on what conditions?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NULAND: We will not recognize the results and nor will anybody else in the international community of any election held in Donbas outside of the Minsk framework and without the agreement that is represented in Minsk that these need to be Ukrainian elections that meet Ukrainian standards and meet OSCE standards. So, a bunch of guys out there just deciding to hold an election is not going to lead to peace and security in Donbas, and we would respectfully encourage them instead to focus on Minsk compliant elections. Thanks very much.'
US State Department's diplomat for Europe Victoria Nuland will discuss the implementation of the Minsk accords and interim political situation with the Ukrainian government.