Rex Tillerson says Russian Federation must reduce tensions in eastern Ukraine

Lucy Hill
July 10, 2017

"It is necessary for Russian Federation to take the first steps to de-escalate the situation in the eastern part of Ukraine", Tillerson told reporters at a joint news conference in Kiev with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

The telephone conversation, the president continued, may be followed by a summit.

According to the president, Ukraine is not interested in delaying such negotiations, because "Ukraine pays a high price - its heroes are wounded and killed" every day.

Ukraine's eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in April 2014 to crush pro-Moscow protests there.

Tillerson says that the US goal in Ukraine is to restore the country's territorial sovereignty and integrity.

Photo Mr. Tillerson, left, assured Mr. Poroshenko during their meeting that the United States was setting a high bar for lifting sanctions on Russian Federation.

He will accompany Tillerson to Kiev on Sunday, the State Department said.

Volker, who was the USA permanent representative to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in July 2008-May 2009, and is now the executive director at a DC-based think tank, the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, was appointed a special representative to Ukraine on Friday.

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Tillerson said sanctions against Russian Federation would remain in place "until Moscow reverses its actions", including the return of the annexed Crimean peninsula.

Moscow has repeatedly said the Ukraine crisis is an internal conflict and that Kiev is not fulfilling its part of the Minsk agreements and refusing to negotiate with its own people in Donbass.

Tillerson said he had appointed a special envoy to allow Washington to be more involved in a peace process overseen by Germany and France.

Poroshenko hailed USA involvement and reiterated Tillerson's commitment to seeking a negotiated peace deal.

"Ukraine's come a long way, you know we want to acknowledge that, and we still have more to do".

The top USA diplomat also said Washington would explore ways of changing the status quo in the Ukraine crisis, and said Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election has prevented better ties with Moscow. His Russian counterpart, Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, told reporters after the meeting in Hamburg, Germany, that Mr. Trump had been persuaded by Mr. Putin's arguments.

"What we agreed on the cyber front is to explore a framework. on how to deal with these very complex issues of cyber threats, cyber security, cyber intrusions", he added.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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