Peace Settlement Needed in Donbass, Blinken and Ukraine’s Zelensky Stress

Reiterating Washington’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky during their phone conversation on Monday that a peaceful diplomatic settlement of the Donbass conflict is needed.

The State Department’s statement noted that both Blinken and Zelensky agreed on the need for a diplomatic resolution to the Donbas conflict in face of the ‘Russian aggression’ and the full restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty over its internationally recognized borders, including Crimea.

According to the statement issued on the Ukraine president official website, Zelensky stressed there’s no alternative to the peaceful resolution of the issue and underlined the steps that Ukraine is taking and intends to take in that direction.

Blinken was briefed during the call about the situation on the Ukraine borders and the Russian military activity near them, accepting Zelensky’s gratitude for the powerful support of the US in the consolidation of the democratic nations’ efforts to prevent escalation.

High on the agenda were also the importance of preserving the international community’s coordinated and effective sanctions pressure on Russia until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored.

Kyiv has refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia despite the convincing results of the referendum held in Crimea and Sevastopol after the February 2014 coup in Ukraine, which showed 96.7% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol support joining Russia.

Emphasize was also put on the enhancement of security cooperation in deterring Kremlin’s aggressive behavior towards Ukraine.

The allegedly looming Russian invasion of Ukraine is continuously echoed recently by the West and Ukraine despite Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refusing it as an empty and groundless escalation of tension.

 At the same time, the Kremlin press secretary did not exclude some possible provocations to justify such claims and warned that the attempts to resolve the Ukrainian conflict by force would carry extremely serious consequences.

The Kremlin spokesman also assured that Russia was making every effort to help Ukraine resolve the conflict in Donbass in line with the Normandy format and the Minsk agreements.

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