United States to maintain Russian Federation sanctions until it withdraws from Ukraine, Tillerson says

07 Декабря, 2017, 21:54 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet at the 2017 G-20 Hamburg Summit. Credit Creative Commons

The United States would "badly" like to lift sanctions against Russian Federation but will not do so until Moscow has pulled its forces out of eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday, calling that the main obstacle to normal ties. Speaking after a dinner where he discussed Russia with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers Tuesday, Tillerson took a tougher stance than U.S. President Donald Trump, who has sought better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After long resisting the idea, Russia has suggested deploying a United Nations peacekeeping force to help end the war between Ukraine's government and Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country that has killed over 10,000 people since 2014.

Tillerson noted that more civilians were killed this year in eastern Ukraine than in 2016, and that ceasefire violations are up 60 percent.

"Deep concern is caused by violations of worldwide law, intervention in the internal affairs, including direct support for government coups, attempts at handling the existing problems by force and the use of unilateral illegitimate measures of coercion", he said. "We call on Russian Federation and its proxies to end its harassment, intimidation and its attacks on the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission".

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"We've reached an absolute low point regarding confidence between the main players", the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's secretary general Thomas Greminger told reporters.

"We prioritise ending the violence, that's our first priority, and to seek to do that we need to put a peacekeeping force in place", Tillerson said.

"In eastern Ukraine, we join our European partners in maintaining sanctions until Russian Federation withdraws its forces from the Donbass (region) and meets its Minsk commitments", Tillerson said.

"Of all the challenges confronting the OSCE today, none is more challenging nor vexing than the situation in Ukraine", he warned, stressing the USA will never lift sanctions until Russian Federation returns control of Crimea and the disputed Donbass region to Ukraine.

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