U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker says that Moscow's military actions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, have "produced the opposite" of Russian President Vladimir Putin's objective: maintaining a "Russia-friendly Ukraine" that is "part of Russia's orbit."
The Minsk agreements signed by Russia clearly indicate that entire Donbas is Ukrainian territory, there is no room for any "republics," Volker said in an interview with the RBC Ukraine news agency.
In his words, "Russia is trying to make use of the 'republics' and this conflict to put pressure on Ukraine, influence political and other processes within Ukraine."
"Their goal is to make the Ukrainian government a part of Russia's orbit again, but Russia miscalculated that doing all this has produced the opposite: the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the occupation of part of its territory gave rise to an even more unified, more Western-oriented, more nationalist and anti-Russian Ukraine than ever. Their strategy has failed, and now they hope for a favorable outcome of future elections in Ukraine. And again, I think, they will miscalculate. The country is changing, no politician has any chance of winning elections and ruling the country if he or she gives up Crimea and Donbas, a European way of development," Volker said.
He also noted that "residents of Ukraine now have a common view on what it means to be a Ukrainian."