Published: Mon, July 10, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Tillerson talks tough on Russian Federation, vows United States support for Ukraine

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and U.S. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson hold talks in Kiev.

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

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

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".

Poroshenko welcomed Volker's appointment, calling it "important and timely move in the interests of ending Russian aggression and restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity, including Crimea".

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

In that role, Volker will lead US efforts to implement the 2015 Minsk agreement aimed at halting the fighting in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region.

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The continuing war in the industrial Donbas region has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced about 1.7 million, and dealt a heavy blow to Ukraine as it tries to break with Russian Federation and integrate with the European Union. Under the Obama administration, the US had taken a hands-off approach to Minsk, allowing the Europeans to take the lead.

Tillerson said the United States remains committed to brokering a peaceful solution in Ukraine.

Russian Federation denies charges that it is actively involved in the insurgency, but has said that in order for peace to take hold, Kiev must agree to political reforms that would give the east greater autonomy.

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

Rasmussen has stressed that Ukraine's security is NATO's security, and "many of the challenges we face today - from election interference to cyber security - are areas where Ukraine has significant experience in countering". "And this is all about securing Ukraine's future, making the place attractive for investors, being attractive to their European neighbors and we want to acknowledge what's been done but there's more that needs to be done", said Tillerson.

"You can count on our strong commitment to support humanitarian action to bring some relief to the people that have been displaced", Guterres said.

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