In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker called the outgoing year the most violent since the beginning of the conflict in the Donbas, saying that sanctions against the Russian Federation should continue.
In addition, Volker called the impression that the crisis in eastern Ukraine was over "absolutely mistaken".
"The year 2017 was the most violent year. The number of violations of the ceasefire has increased, the number of dead civilians has been the highest since the beginning of the fighting. Adding to this is the collapse of the economy and infrastructure, which has made the population more vulnerable," Volker said.
According to the diplomat, the sanctions must remain in force until the reasons for which they were implemented are met. Volker also stressed that compliance with the Minsk agreements is the most important condition for the lifting of the sanctions.
"We must maintain sanctions until Minsk is implemented, because they create an incentive for Moscow to respect the agreements," he said.
Volker said earlier that Russia wants to involve the DPR and LPR to the issue of peacekeepers, which will drag out the conflict.