WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed his concerns for the status of the implementation of the Minsk II agreement, which was meant to calm tensions in eastern Ukraine. Agreed to one year ago, Minsk II is a package of security and political measures negotiated by Ukraine, Germany, France, and Russia to address the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“Thursday, marks the first anniversary of the Minsk II agreement. While all parties have expressed a commitment to pursue a peaceful resolution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine, I remain concerned that the implementation of Minsk II has been held back by continued Russian support for separatist violence. If Russia is serious about Minsk II implementation it would immediately withdraw all military equipment from Ukrainian territory and allow access for OSCE monitors to the occupied territories.
“I understand that our Ukrainian friends must also implement the political elements of Minsk – constitutional reforms and elections – but we must see real progress from the Russians on the security front first. Fighting continues at an estimated rate of about 60 shellings a day, and there are currently more tanks in the region than OSCE monitors. These tanks circulate without restraint, while observers from the OSCE are severely limited in their movements. The U.S. and EU should maintain -- and even consider strengthening -- robust sanctions on Russia until it fully implements Minsk II.”