Volker, Surkov to discuss humanitarian situation, ceasefire in Donbas, hostages
U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker and Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov will discuss a ceasefire in Donbas, the release of hostages and the humanitarian situation in the region.
First, on a meeting with Mr. Surkov: I hope to lay out a U.S. vision of what we can do to speed up the end of the conflict. This will require that Russia withdraw its forces, while [Russian] controlled forces there should finally be disbanded, Volker said in an interview with Radio Liberty.
In particular, the diplomat intends to raise the issue of the release of Ukrainian hostages, which are held in occupied territories and in Russia.
I do not think that this is what Mr. Surkov did personally, but I hope that they will convey the message that it is important to continue releasing detainees from both sides as a step to build confidence and ground to reach agreement, Volker said.
The establishment of a lasting ceasefire in Donbas will also be the subject of talks.
I hope that the Russian side will adhere to this [ceasefire] in the future, that efforts will be made to achieve this truce, Volker said.
According to him, the sides will also discuss the humanitarian situation in the region.
It's important to keep this in the foreground - the fact that the number of people killed, wounded or left homeless due to this conflict is significant, and this is happening in the center of Europe. It seems to me that it's important to keep it in focus, Volker added.
At the same time, the diplomat noted that he did not expect progress in the negotiation process.
I do not think that we will reach agreement at this meeting, but I think it is important to indicate what our expectations are.
As reported, Volker intends to meet with Surkov in Dubai on January 26.