11:13 Jun. 8, 2016
Amercian government will work with Europe to push Kremlin for full implementation of Minsk agreements
The U.S. will extend sanctions against Russia, they are effective, and the U.S. government will continue to work with their European partners in this direction.
This was stated by Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 7.
Victoria Nuland: "To press Moscow to bring an end to the violence in Ukraine and fully implement its commitments under the Minsk agreements, we have worked with the EU, the G7 and other like-minded nations to impose successive rounds of tough, economic sanctions on Russia over the past two years. These sanctions, combined with low oil prices and Russia's continued structural weaknesses, have imposed significant costs. While Moscow has not yet changed its approach to Ukraine, our readiness to toughen sanctions even further has likely played a role in deterring further Russian efforts to grab Ukrainian territory."
She also stressed that the US is now working intensively with Europe to "ensure EU *sanctions are rolled over at the end of this month, and to support France and Germany in their lead diplomatic role to push for full implementation of the Minsk agreements."
She addressed other challenges to international peace and security posed by Kremlin.
Victoria Nuland: "By 2014, however, we had no choice but to re-evaluate our assumptions following Russia's invasion of sovereign Ukrainian territory – first in Crimea, then in eastern Ukraine – which shattered any remaining illusions about this Kremlin's willingness to abide by international law or live by the rules of the institutions that Russia joined at the end of the Cold War."
Nuland said amid fears over Moscow's aggression, NATO is beefing up its position in Eastern Europe, in order to "reduce vulnerability among friends and Allies facing Russian pressure."
Victoria Nuland: "To counter the threat posed by Russia's aggression and deter any military moves against NATO territory, over the past 2 years the United States and our NATO Allies have maintained a persistent, rotational military presence on land, sea, and air all along NATO's eastern edge — in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and the three Baltic States."
Victoria Nuland added: "As we look toward the NATO Summit in Warsaw in July, Allies will institutionalize a more sustained approach to deterrence, including by enhancing forward presence in the East to reduce response times to any aggression."
Read Victoria Nuland's full statement here
*Earlier German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that some E.U. countries are sceptic about extending sanctions against Russia. According to him, it is unclear whether all 28 countries decide to extend sanctions against Russia.
However, Steinmeier spokesman later added that German Foreign Ministry head's words contradicted the government's attitude towards the crisis in Ukraine and the final declaration of G7 leaders recently adopted at the summit in Japan.
Later, Chancellor Angela Merkel said they agree that Ukraine-related sanctions targeting Russia should only be lifted if Moscow complies with a deal to end fighting between Kyiv's forces and Russia-backed separatists.