Ambassador of UK to Ukraine: Russia needs to leave Donbas, return Crimea to Ukraine
Russia should begin to do what it agreed to within the framework of the Minsk peace process - to withdraw from Donetsk and Luhansk regions and return the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Ukraine Melinda Simmons has said.
"There is only one thing that needs to be done - Russia should start doing what it agreed to in the Minsk Peace Process. …Ukrainians are trying to do things that have been asked for and implementing peace initiatives. …But there will be no success here until Russia does the same. Russia needs to do only one thing - to leave Donbas and Luhansk and return Crimea to Ukraine," Simmons said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
The ambassador said sanctions against the Russian Federation should continue, because they put a high price for illegal activities, and Russia needs to show that the international community supports its obligations.
Simmons noted that although Great Britain is a participant in the Minsk process, it constantly supports it and pointed out to NATO that the most difficult thing about this is that during this year Russia has been less and less cooperative.
She also positively assessed the observance of the ceasefire in Donbas.
"I have experience in peacebuilding and conflict prevention, and for me any ceasefire, regardless of its duration, is doing the job of keeping lives from being lost. Therefore, it is a humanitarian success in itself if you're able to keep (fighting) down, and especially important for people who are forced to live in the face of constant shelling of their homes and communities. This is already a result in itself. Being able to successfully negotiate a ceasefire is very important. Every day that goes by is another day of relative quiet for people who live there, and this is important," the ambassador said.