World

Tillerson: US, Russia could normalize ties but for Ukraine

Tillerson: US, Russia could normalize ties but for Ukraine

"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. He has said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin's personal denials that Moscow meddled.

Tillerson insisted the USA could never overlook Russia's invasion of Ukraine and "attempted annexation" of the Crimean peninsula. But that does not mean the United States acknowledges that Crimea is now a part of Russian Federation, which annexed the peninsula in early 2014 before the conflict expanded into eastern Ukraine around the Donbas region.

"We urge concentrating on (the) elaboration and implementation of specific additional confidence building measures in order to secure the cyber security and not to waste breath with unfounded accusations without any fact", Sergei Lavrov told a meeting of foreign ministers from OSCE countries.

The gulf between the United States and Russian Federation showed no signs of narrowing Thursday, as top diplomats from the two countries faced off over a proposed U.N. peacekeeping force in Ukraine.

"We have been clear with Russia that we can not return to business as usual in the NATO-Russia relations, as long as Russia continues its illegal occupation of Ukraine", he said at a press conference at NATO headquarters.




"Russia is arming, leading, training and fighting alongside anti-government forces".

He and Lavrov met on the sidelines of the conference, though both ignored reporters' questions when the meeting began.

"We will never accept Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea", Tillerson told the audience at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe event.

The U.S. has decried Moscow's military involvement in eastern Ukraine, where it has backed pro-Russia separatists, and its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. "Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russian Federation returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine".


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