Tillerson: Ukraine - biggest obstacle to normal Russian Federation ties

08 Décembre, 2017, 00:40 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Austrian foreign minister and incoming chancellor Sebastian Kurz greets US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the start of the 24th OSCE Ministerial Council in Vienna

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday there could be no normal relations with Russian Federation until Moscow ended its support for separatists in Ukraine and returned Crimea, in comments likely to reassure Western allies.

Speaking before the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as part of a three-country, four-day European trek, Tillerson criticized Russian Federation for violating a ceasefire agreement and for denying it has armed and funded separatists in the Ukraine for the last four years, according to Reuters.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that despite a certain amount of progress being made, there is still instability in some parts of the Balkans.

The United States warned Russian Federation on Thursday that its ties with the West can never recover until it pulls its forces out of Ukraine, as OSCE foreign ministers met in Vienna.

But Russia envisions a limited force to simply protect the existing 600-strong group of unarmed OSCE observers, who are struggling to monitor a shaky ceasefire in a conflict that has already left 10,000 dead since 2014.

Tillerson was to meet Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later in the day, but there appeared little room for compromise after the veteran Moscow envoy branded the idea of a robust United Nations mission a bid to resolve the conflict "by force".

In his speech to the gathering, Tillerson went even further in spelling out Russia's involvement in the conflict and the consequences it faced than he had the day before in Brussels.

Tillerson said he hoped to agree to deploy United Nations troops to eastern Ukraine, an idea the Russian president floated in September.

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He and Lavrov met on the sidelines of the conference, though both ignored reporters' questions when the meeting began.

"We can have differences in other arenas, in Syria, we can have differences in other areas", Tillerson said. We get dialogue, we get cooperation, we don't have it solved.

In his speech, he referred to the 2015 Minsk ceasefire agreement, brokered in the Belarussian capital by France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

"I think it's significant that we're talking about the right thing", he said.

He also made clear that Washington did not accept Russia's seizure of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

Economic sanctions were placed on Russian Federation by then-US President Barack Obama in 2014 following the country's military action in Crimea and Ukraine.

Tillerson insisted the USA could never overlook Russia's invasion of Ukraine and "attempted annexation" of the Crimean peninsula.

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