'No More Cookies': Washington Presses Kiev on Donbass Elections

© Sputnik / Vitaliy Belousov / Go to the photo bankIndependence Square in Kiev
Independence Square in Kiev - Sputnik International
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US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has apparently opted for a stick instead of a carrot when it comes to Kiev. During her latest visit to Ukraine, she is said to have pressed government officials to speed up the implementation of the Minsk agreements, saying that otherwise the EU would lift anti-Russian sanctions.

The decentralization of the state and the elections in Donbass were the two main issues on the agenda during Nuland's April 25 trip, the web site Apostrophe reported.

All major sponsors of the Minsk peace process, including Russia, have long insisted that the civil war in Ukraine could only be brought to an end if the accords are fully implemented, but Kiev has been slow in carrying out the necessary reforms. Nuland's visit was meant to speed up this process.

Kiev was "strongly encouraged" to prepare a bill on elections in Donbass by mid-May. "If President Petro Poroshenko does not make sure that the bill is passed, the European Union will not extend sanctions imposed on Moscow," the media outlet noted.

The EU will discuss the issue at its summit in June. But on Thursday the lower house of the French parliament passed a resolution calling for the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions. The vote comes at a time when more European countries want their relations with Moscow to return back to normal.

Ukrainian army soldiers perform a military exercise at a training ground outside Zhitomir, Ukraine - Sputnik International
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This is not a scenario that Washington wants to see unfold. If it does play out, it would likely be a huge image loss for Nuland, the publication noted. This is why the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs has adopted a tough stance on Kiev.

The new approach was best summed up by an anonymous source, who told the Apostrophe that, "There are no more cookies left, [Nuland] is now using a stick."

Earlier in April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on the West and particularly the US to urge Kiev to implement the Minsk agreements and carry out reforms in the country.

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