Russia must return POWs, fulfill Minsk accords – Volker
The Russian Federation should immediately release Ukrainian POW sailors, Kurt Volker, the Special Representative of the U.S. Department of State for Ukraine Negotiations has said.
There are no legal grounds for Russia to hold these sailors. They must be returned home to their families immediately, he told reporters during the International Forum "Occupied Crimea: Five Years of Resistance" in Kyiv on Tuesday.
Volker also noted that the Russian Federation must comply with the Minsk agreements.
He said it is very important for Russia to begin fulfilling the Minsk agreements in the east of Ukraine, including conditions that it does not fulfill, a cease-fire regime, the withdrawal of heavy weapons, the disbandment of illegal military formations, the withdrawal of foreign military groups, the provision of access to receive humanitarian aid and unhindered access to observers of the OSCE Special Mission, so that they could work in this territory, and so on and so forth.
According to Volker, Ukraine should hold elections in due time and grant special status to Donbas under the Ukrainian Constitution, as well as conduct an amnesty for the crimes that were committed "during the conflict."
The special envoy of the U.S. Department of State for Ukraine said that now we are faced with a situation where Russia denies its involvement in the conflict. The war continues and we cannot end it, he said.
We continue to negotiate with Russia. I hope that progress on these basic security issues will be achieved during our communication with the Russian side, and through the Normandy format as well, Volker added.