The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations addressed the President of the European Council with a call on the EC to extend sanctions against Russia because of its military aggression in Ukraine. The Committee’s leadership office circulated the text of the document on Monday, Ukrinform reported.
“We write to call on the European Council to extend sanctions of EU against Russia this month. According to the SMM OSCE reports, at least 112 Ukrainian servicemen were killed and more than 700 were injured since the announcement of the ceasefire agreement on the 1st of September 2015,” the document stated. It also stressed that Russia failed to implement the main provisions of the Minsk Agreements, including the withdrawal of all heavy weapons and the provision to the SMM-OSCE with unhindered and safe access to all areas of the conflict zone.
“It is extremely important that the USA and the European Union maintain Euro-Atlantic solidarity against Russia’s blatant disregard of its obligations on Minsk Agreements and its continuing illegal occupation of Crimea,” the authors of the letter stated. The Committee noted that constant attacks of the joint Russian-separatist forces caused Ukraine to close checkpoints on the border line and restrict the access of humanitarian aid to people who need it.
The document also mentions that Russia should release all people who are being detained in violation of the Minsk Agreements. The easing of sanctions can be connected only when Russia shows progress in implementing the peace agreements, the Committee stated.
“Taking into consideration the seriousness of Russia’s continued violations and aggression against Ukraine, including the occupation of Crimea in full violation of norms of international law, we call on the European Council to extend sanctions against Russia until it fully implements its international obligations,” the letter says. The letter was signed by six Senators, including Benjamin Cardin, John McCain, Richard Durbin, Robert Portman, Jenny Shaheen and Ronald Johnson.