Tillerson: Russia Must 'Take The First Steps' To Peace In Ukraine

Randall Padilla
July 10, 2017

"Volker will coordinate all State Department efforts to bring a resolution to the conflict created when Russian Federation invaded Crimea and later eastern Ukraine", R.C. Hammond, a communications adviser for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, said, according to a report cited by Reuters.

"It is necessary for Russian Federation to take the first step to de-escalate the situation in the east part of Ukraine", Tillerson said as he made his first visit as Washington's top diplomat to Kiev. The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and U.S. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson hold talks in Kiev.

"As yet, unclear where", he said.

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

Mr Tillerson recently suggested that Kiev and Moscow might achieve a peace agreement outside the framework of the Minsk deal, and he travelled to Ukraine with the new U.S. special envoy to the country, Kurt Volker.

"Kurt's wealth of experience makes him uniquely qualified to move this conflict in the direction of peace", Tillerson said in a statement. Tillerson is in Ukraine to reaffirm American support as the country struggles with an insurgency in the east and attempts to crack down on corruption.

His appointment suggests Washington wants to play a bigger role in efforts to resolve the conflict in Donbas, which until now have centred on the so-called Normandy format of talks involving Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France.

U.S. Secretary of state arrived on Sunday with his delegation to the Ukrainian presidential administration in Central Kiev, Poroshenko met Tillerson, they shook hands, and went to talks in the administration building.

Tillerson's short visit to Kiev comes as the US explores taking a greater role in a European-led effort to end the three-year conflict in Ukraine's east that has claimed around 10,000 lives.

Volker served as the USA ambassador to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation under Obama from 2008-09.

"Kiev did not plan, did not start this war", he added.

Speaking to a group of reform advocates at the US ambassador's residence, Tillerson praised Ukraine's progress in combating graft but made clear that more must be accomplished. "We have to find a way to begin to address that, and it's not going to be only about Russian Federation, it's going to be about worldwide engagement as well".

"Ukraine has come a long way", he said.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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