Tillerson takes tough line on Russian Federation, open to peacekeepers

Tillerson takes tough line on Russia, open to peacekeepers

Tillerson takes tough line on Russia, open to peacekeepers

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prepares for the beginning of a meeting of OSCE Foreign Ministers in Vienna, Austria, December 7, 2017.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson blasted Russian Federation on Thursday for inciting violence in Ukraine by backing rebels and vowed that the USA will keep sanctions in place until Moscow withdraws its forces from the country.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin believes that an alternative to the introduction of the United Nations peacekeeping mission into Donbas is exclusively the freezing of the conflict. 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.

"But the issue that stands in the way is Ukraine", he stressed, after a morning ministerial meeting at which he and Lavrov had expressed starkly different views. "But when one country invades another, that is a difference that is hard to look past or to reconcile".

Tillerson, who will meet with his Moscow counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, later Thursday, said the USA will "never accept Russia's occupation and attempted annexation" of Crimea and will continue sanctions until the peninsula is returned to full control of Ukraine.

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

"Russian Federation is arming, leading, training and fighting alongside anti-government forces", he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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