New U.S. administration makes detailed statement on Donbas for first time
Russia has stepped up its efforts to destabilize Ukraine and undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty over the past year.
Rodney Hunter, a political coordinator of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said this at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday, February 11, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
“Since 2014, Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine have led to the deaths of more than 13,000 people. Its actions have displaced 1.5 million Ukrainians and left an additional 3.4 million in need of humanitarian assistance,” the U.S. representative said.
He noted that Russia had stepped up its efforts to destabilize Ukraine and undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty over the past year. “Russia continues to deny that it controls the conflict in eastern Ukraine and falsely presents itself as a mediator to this conflict, even though it is, in fact, the instigator,” he stressed.
According to Rodney Hunter, Moscow has “blocked meaningful progress in diplomatic negotiations” while arming, training, funding, and leading its proxy forces and supporting the self-proclaimed “authorities” on the ground.
He also drew attention to the fact that the Russian side continues to disregard the agreements reached during the talks.
“President Putin agreed at the 2019 Normandy Summit to take steps to improve humanitarian and security situations on the ground. However, Russia subsequently sought to hinder the implementation of those very same steps at the Trilateral Contact Group, both directly and through its proxies,” the U.S. representative emphasized.
He recalled that Russia had stalled the opening of new civilian crossing points along the line of contact and blocked additional exchanges of detainees. In this context, he called on the Russian side to release the more than 100 Ukrainian political prisoners it is holding, and to end its campaign of intimidation against Crimean Tatars and opponents of their occupation.
“President Putin has even refused to endorse the agreement on ceasefire-strengthening measures Ukraine secured through the Trilateral Contact Group last July,” Hunter added.
In addition, the American representative expressed serious concern about the restrictions on access that Russia and its proxies continue to impose on humanitarian workers and OSCE Special Monitoring Mission personnel.
“Russia must immediately cease its aggression in eastern Ukraine and end its occupation of Crimea. We call on Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine, cease its support for its proxies and other armed groups, and implement all of the commitments it made under the Minsk agreements,” he said.
He also called on Russia to grant and facilitate safe, timely, and unhindered access to all humanitarian personnel and OSCE and UN monitors throughout the Ukrainian territory that Russia controls, including parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, and occupied Crimea.