Ukraine hopes U.S. will help free hostages - Gerashchenko
Ukraine hopes that the United States will help release hostages held in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia, Verkhovna Rada First Deputy Chairperson Iryna Gerashchenko has said.
"We are counting on U.S. assistance in the release of hostages and political prisoners who are illegally held in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the occupied Crimea and Russia. Sanctions against the Russian Federation should remain in place until the full restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity and until all illegally detained citizens of Ukraine are released," the Ukrainian parliament's press service quoted Gerashchenko as saying following her visit to the United States.
She also noted that in order to establish peace in eastern Ukraine it is extremely important to establish control over the section of the Russian-Ukrainian border, as well as to deploy a UN peacekeeping force throughout the temporarily occupied territory of Donbas.
In addition, Gerashchenko stressed the need to provide defensive weapons to Ukraine to protect Ukrainian territories.
"The U.S. defense budget for 2018 envisages $350 million as assistance to Ukraine in the security sector. It is very important that U.S. assistance programs to Ukraine envisage funding in 2018 for programs on humanitarian demining and rehabilitation of servicemen injured in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone," she added.
She also said that the United States remains a reliable partner of Ukraine in resolving security and humanitarian issues.
"We look forward to continuing constructive dialogue with the United States in 2018," Gerashchenko said.