Kyiv Security Forum

Special Video Address of Kurt Volker, the Ambassador, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, at the 12th Kyiv Security Forum

11 April 2019, 18:20

Greetings! It’s a pleasure and an honor for me to be able to speak to the guests of the Kyiv Security Forum. I wish I could be there in person, but unfortunately I’m not able to be in Ukraine today. I believe that the Kyiv Security Forum is one the preeminent gatherings in Ukraine. And I believe it is an important focus as well.

No country in Europe faces the kind of security threats on day to day basis that Ukraine faces as has faced for the last five years.

It has been a challenging five years for Ukraine not only because of the annexation by Russia of Crimea, the claimed annexation, and because of the war in Donbas, but also politically and economically. It has been very challenging times.

What is encouraging to see however is that Ukrainians have responded to these challenges by forging a stronger, more unified national identity. One that is looking toward the implementation of further reforms and ultimate integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions.

The United States stand by Ukraine on this journey.

We congratulate the people of Ukraine of having had a successful first round of Presidential elections. We wish you well in conducting a second round of those Presidential elections as well as Parliamentary elections this fall.

The United States does not endorse any particular candidate in any election, but rather we stand for principles. We believe strongly in supporting Ukraine in the development of its democratic institutions, in economic reform, in fighting corruption, and in building a strong sovereign secure state, building security for the people of Ukraine.

We believe firmly that the Minsk agreements need to be implemented fully. Thus far Russia has not been willing to do that. But we remain prepared to engage, to do whatever we can to facilitate negotiations, the introduction of peacekeepers if it is helpful so that the people of Eastern Ukraine can get their lives back once again. The humanitarian challenges that they face are some of the worst in Europe incumbent on all of us not to leave them behind. We want to see then being successful as well.

The United States strongly support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We just recently saw the fifth anniversary of Russia’s claimed annexation of Crimea. And I recall everyone’s attention yet again to Secretary Pompeo’s declaration of July 25, 2018 in which he made it clear that the United States does not and will not accept Russia’s claimed annexation. Likewise we do not accept the legitimacy of the two People’s Republics in Eastern Ukraine – the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics as they are called which were created and controlled by Russia.

We need to see a genuine negotiation that will restore sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as called for in the Minsk agreements. We need to see the political steps of those Minsk agreements implemented as well. Ukraine has done a lot in that direction and if we are able to establish security then we should be able to move the rest of the way as well.

I wish all the of participants in the conference a successful set of discussions. Again, I wish I could be there in person with you, but I will be visiting Ukraine again soon.

Thank you.

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