No progress towards ending Ukraine conflict: UN

Washington, Oct 19 (UNI) The US special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker says he does not expect any progress towards ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine because Russia appears to be waiting for possible changes coming out of the Ukrainian elections.

“I think that Russia has essentially decided to wait out the Ukrainian election, see what happens. Maybe it will be a new opportunity that arises to get a more favorable position for Russia. So I think they intend to play it out,” RFE/RL reported quoting Volker in the Atlantic Council on October 18.

Volker’s remarks came after Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Valdai Club in Sochi that he hopes a government more friendly to Russia emerges from the Ukrainian presidential election, which is due to take place on March 31.

“We need to wait until the internal political cycles are finished, and I really expect that we will be able to build at least some kind of relations and reach some kind of agreement with a new leadership of the country. We’re ready for that, we want that,” Putin told the gathering of foreign dignitaries that meets regularly for discussions in Sochi.

Putin claimed that the current leadership in Kyiv is also waiting for the elections before making any further progress in peace talks aimed at carrying out a roadmap for peace agreed to in the Belarusian capital in 2015.

“It’s obvious to everyone that not only are the incumbent Ukrainian authorities failing to implement the Minsk Agreements, but they are also not going to do that today, including because of domestic policy considerations — I mean the upcoming presidential and then parliamentary elections,” he said.

Putin charged that the current government in Kyiv led by President Petro Poroshenko has made its mark by “selling Russophobia and anti-Russian sentiments” to the West.

Volker said Russia appears more determined than ever to continue backing separatists fighting the government in eastern Ukraine despite extensive efforts by the United States and Western Europe to pressure Russia over its aggression in Ukraine.

“We did not impact the decision-making from President Putin and others in Russia about whether to continue the war. They are determined to continue to do so.

And my estimation is that the chances of their changing position now are lower then they were even a year ago,” he said.