Violence over the weekend in Ukraine has Kiev and Moscow blaming each other for breaking an agreement seen as possible road map to ending the impasse in the eastern part of the country.
“Let’s be clear – these are Russian troops and Russian-led forces in eastern Ukraine who are not abiding by the agreement … to turn over occupied buildings and disarm illegal militias,” Taylor said. “The Russians are directing, guiding and provoking things in eastern Ukraine – that violates the agreement.”
While he believes the chances for a military conflict are low as of now, he says Putin is sending the wrong message with Russia’s current military buildup near Ukraine’s border.
Taylor hopes the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s special monitoring mission agreed upon by both sides will help defuse the situation and lead to the disbandment of militia groups.
“These monitors from all across Europe, the United States, and Russia … will go and see who is abiding by this agreement and who is not,” said Taylor. “They will be able to describe who is violating this agreement.”
Taylor says Ukrainians, even in the east, have united against Russia in light of Putin’s recent actions. While there are some Ukrainians pushing for Russian intervention, Taylor believes some are coming together to “oppose this pressure and black mail” by Putin.
Watch the full interview with Ambassador William B. Taylor above.