Volker on Donbas: Neither civil war nor ethnic conflict, it's a state-to-state conflict
U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Ambassador Kurt Volker says that the crisis in Donbas is not a civil war or ethnic conflict, it's a state-to-state conflict.
"In the case of Ukraine, what we see here is not an ethnic conflict, it's not an indigenous conflict that grew up internally, it's not a civil war, it's not a conflict between Russians and Ukrainians ethnically. It is a State to State conflict," Volker said in a keynote address to the OSCE Annual Security Review Conference in Vienna, Austria, on June 26, 2018.
"It is a conflict in which Russia has put its forces onto the territory of Ukraine. It has claimed to annex Crimea – an illegal annexation that I think no one among the States here recognizes. And it has done something similar in eastern Ukraine, but not recognizing the 'People's Republics' of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent States, merely propping them up and using them as entities to prolong the conflict," he said.
According to him, in order to address that problem, the United States has proposed – along with France and Germany and Ukraine and others – that there be a deployment of a UN mandated peacekeeping force that would replace the Russian forces and create security in the territory, and hold that territory as necessary in order to create the conditions where the remainder of the Minsk agreements can be fulfilled.
"And that is the overall goal, it is the implementation of the Minsk agreements. It has not been done in the last four years, but the creation of a secure environment would create a new opportunity to do that. There have been some recent renewed efforts on the part of the Normandy partners to revive that process, the U.S. fully supports those efforts. We have also engaged with our allies in Europe, and we will be having additional engagements with Russia bilaterally as we saw from the presence of the National Security Adviser, John Bolton in Russia this week," he said.