Tillerson talks tough on Russian Federation, vows U.S. support for Ukraine

The West imposed economic sanctions after Russian Federation annexed Crimea and fomented an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine in spring 2014, in the wake of pro-democracy protests that ousted pro-Moscow politicians from power in Kiev. He said a primary goal of the United States "is to restore Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty" and that would be "required in order for the US and Russian Federation to improve our relationship".

During a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Tillerson said it's necessary for Russian Federation to take the first steps to stabilize the country.

"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.

"We do call on Russian Federation to honor its commitments that were made under the Minsk accords and to exercise influence over the separatists in the region that they have complete control over", he said, adding later: "The U.S. and European Union sanctions on Russian Federation will remain in place until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered these particular sanctions".

He called the initial dialogue an effort to "explore a framework under which we might begin to have agreement on how to deal with these very complex issues of cyberthreats, cybersecurity, cyberintrusions".

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

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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".

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

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has appointed former NATO Ambassador Kurt Volker as the Special Representative for Ukrainian Negotiations, the State Department said Friday.

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

"Most of all we want peace in Ukraine".

"We came to agreement with the secretary-general that Ukraine and the whole world today need strong and decisive actions by the United Nations like never before", Poroshenko said. With EU and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation support, Ukraine has come a very long way in the past three years with an ambitious reform programme, and it has begun to bear fruit with the DCFTA and visa liberalization.

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