Tillerson says Ukraine is biggest obstacle to normal Russian Federation ties

Tillerson says Ukraine is biggest obstacle to normal Russian Federation ties

Meeting his European Union and NATO counterparts in Brussels on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said worldwide sanctions and pressure on North Korea will remain the policy until the regime gives up its nuclear program.

At a news conference with OSCE host Austria's Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, Tillerson recalled that US President Donald Trump had been clear during his campaign previous year that he wanted better relations with Russian Federation.

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.

The deployment of the United States missile defense in Europe, just as NATO's expansion, undermines the indivisibility of security, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said while speaking at a meeting of the OSCE foreign ministers in Vienna.

In his speech to the gathering, Tillerson went even further in spelling out Russia's involvement in the conflict and the consequences it faced than he had the day before in Brussels.

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But Western powers, led by the United States, want a force with a robust mandate that would allow it to protect the 600 OSCE monitors there, police ceasefire lines and investigate ceasefire breaches across eastern Ukraine. "Russian Federation is arming, leading, training and fighting alongside anti-government forces", he said.

Speaking at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Tillerson went even further in spelling out Russia's involvement in the conflict and the consequences it faced than he had the day before when he met North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in Brussels.

"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.

"Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russian Federation returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine", Tillerson added.

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