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State Department Eyes Special Envoy Over Crimea Conflict

Image: State Department Eyes Special Envoy Over Crimea Conflict
Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP)

By Wanda Carruthers   |   Friday, 21 Apr 2017 06:31 PM

Senior State Department officials are considering creating a special envoy position to communicate with a top aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin about negotiating a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine.

The envoy would work with Vladislav Surkov, who has been involved in discussions about Russia's military intervention when it annexed Crimea in 2014. That takeover spawned ongoing fighting in the area between Ukrainian government troops and Russian-backed separatists.

"There is currently a discussion of the idea, but no final decisions have been made," a senior State Department official told the Washington Examiner on Friday.

"I would note that this administration is not going to be as prolific in the use of special envoys" as previous administrations, the official explained. "That being said, this is one that does not appear to be off the table."

The idea for a special envoy, which would not require a confirmation vote in the Senate, was reportedly discussed when German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with President Donald Trump at the White House last month. The White House has not confirmed the discussion took place.

While the administration of former President Barack Obama was in frequent correspondence with Surkov, Trump could undergo heightened scrutiny from such a liaison, as his administration has fought against charges of special ties with the Russian president.

BuzzFeed News, which originally reported the story, said a senior White House official explained the Trump administration was exploring "all diplomatic options on how to engage most effectively in this effort."

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Senior State Department officials are considering creating a special envoy position to communicate with a top aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin about negotiating a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine.
state department, considers, envoy, putin, ukraine
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2017-31-21
 

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