Tillerson Says Russia Must Restore Ukraine Territory, or Sanctions Stay

Posted July 10, 2017

Ukraine has been rocked by suspected separatist movements along its border with Russian Federation since 2014.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on July 5 that Tillerson would "reaffirm" Washington's "commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity" and encourage Kyiv to continue implementing reforms to strengthen its "economic, political, and military resilience". A few days ago, Mr. Tillerson announced he was appointing a new special envoy, Kurt Volker, an experienced diplomat, to help settle the dispute in Ukraine in part at the request of Mr. Putin.

"The US and European Union sanctions on Russian Federation will remain in place until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered these particular sanctions". According to a senior state Department official, Tillerson during the visit will present to the Ukrainian President his view of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

During a short visit to Poland ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, this week - on the sidelines of which he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time - USA leader Donald Trump called on Russia to "cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere".

"We are disappointed by the lack of progress under the Minsk agreement", he said at a joint briefing with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko after they held talks.

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After a meeting later Sunday with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Poroshenko called on the world body to take a more active role in addressing Ukraine's problems. He also expressed deep appreciation for his "symbolic and timely visit immediately after the meetings at the G-20 in Hamburg", where Mr. Trump met with Putin.

"You can count on our strong commitment to support humanitarian action to bring some relief to the people that have been displaced", Guterres said. "And so I think that was about the way we expected the conversation to go".

Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday that he had "strongly pressed" Mr Putin about Russian interference in the USA election and had discussed with him the possibility of creating "an impenetrable cyber security unit".

Tillerson told reporters Sunday that the U.S.is going to have a dialogue on how to gain such assurances from their Russian counterparts, adding "the important thing is how do we assure that this doesn't happen again". "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".