US State Department: Russian-speaking population in most danger where Russia is 'protecting' it

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert has claimed that the most dangerous place for Russian-speaking people to live is in eastern Ukraine, where Russia is "protecting" them.

"Russia has claimed it wants to protect Russian speakers, but as our Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, Kurt Volker has pointed out on numerous occasions, there’s nowhere in the world more dangerous for Russian speakers right now than in eastern Ukraine," she said.

According to Nauert, Russia has deliberately made the Donbas a dangerous place where civilians have become victims of the artillery fire by Russian collaborators and invaders and where infrastructure is being destroyed.
Additionally, the State Department spokeswoman recalled that last week was the bloodiest week of the Donbas conflict since the beginning of 2018. In total, over a period of just a few days, five Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 23 soldiers wounded in the zone of the Joint Forces operation.

According to Nauert, Russia "controls the violence" in the region but could bring it to an end immediately if it so wished.

"This has been one of the most violent weeks of the year. Five Ukrainian soldiers are now dead and 23 have been wounded. The fighting has not spared civilians either. A 13-year-old boy and his father were killed in a Ukrainian Government controlled territory when artillery shells struck their home," the State Department spokeswoman added.

"We call on Russia to end its aggression in Ukraine and live up to its commitments when it signed the Minsk agreements," Nauert concluded.

On May 16, State Department spokesman for Ukraine Kurt Volker stated that all residents of the Donbas want the region to return to the control of the official Ukrainian government.

  Donbas, Russian-speaking population, US State Department