US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, met with the representatives of the parliamentary factions. “Samopomich” was represented by Viktoriia Voitsitska at the meeting.
“The State Department insists on Ukraine amending the Constitution – in terms of the “special status” for the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, holding elections in the occupied territories in the near future and providing amnesty to the militants. Minsk agreements must be implemented by the end of 2016, there is no alternative. Although the “Minsk” is bad, Ukraine as a state has agreed to it.
At the same time it is pointed out that we need to understand that no one will withdraw heavy weapons. Heavy weapons should be “closed” and special OSCE mission shall monitor their “storage”. We are told that if we hold elections, then it will set a precedent with Russian troops voluntarily leaving the territory they had occupied for the first time in history. However, we are certainly not given any guarantees that Russian troops will go away.
In the best case, if Ukraine demonstrates good will to implement Minsk agreements and passes a law on elections in the occupied territories in May, then in June the sanctions will be extended for 9 months, by January 2017. The elections in the occupied territories are expected in July. According to Viktoriia Voitsitska, these are the key messages voiced at the meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.
Viktoriia Voitsitska draws up a disappointing conclusion: the lifting of sanctions is not tied to the illegal annexation of Crimea and occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but to the amendments to the Constitution and holding of elections in virtually occupied by Russia territory.
“Samopomich” believes that Ukraine must recognize the territories occupied and Russia – the occupier country, regardless of the continuation or termination of the sanctions. The draft law “On temporarily occupied territory” has been registered in the Verkhovna Rada by our deputies.
Giving the occupied territories the “special status” and holding elections in the occupied territories is actually a capitulation. This is what the Kremlin sought for when starting the war against Ukraine.