U.S. taps ex-NATO ambassador as special Ukraine envoy - RFE/RL
Kurt Volker, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, has been appointed to be the new U.S. special envoy to negotiate over the fate of war-racked Ukraine, two State Department officials confirmed to RFE/RL.
A pooled media report on July 7 also quoted State Department official R.C. Hammond as saying that Volker “will coordinate all State Department efforts to bring a resolution to the conflict created when Russia invaded Crimea and later eastern Ukraine,” RFE/RL reports citing Reuters.
The appointment comes amid ongoing tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and continued backing of armed militants in eastern Ukraine.
During the Obama administration, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland served in the envoy role that Volker is set to take over.
Read alsoTrump administration plans to restart Ukraine peace process – Washington PostVolker is likely to be dealing directly with Vladislav Surkov, a longtime senior aide to Putin.
Volker is expected to join Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his visit to Kyiv on July 9, when Tillerson will meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and civil-society activists.
Read alsoEx-militant leaders elaborate on Putin aide Surkov's role in east Ukraine - ReutersPoroshenko’s administration and the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv confirmed Poroshenko and Tillerson will deliver statements following their meeting.
A U.S. diplomatic source told RFE/RL that Volker is expected to stay over until July 10 to meet with other Ukrainian officials.