Secretary of State Tillerson Visits Ukraine

10 July, 2017, 00:57 | Author: Franklin Nunez

"Most likely, in July would be a Normandy Four telephone conversation at the level of leaders", Poroshenko said.

Poroshenko was especially complimentary of Tillerson's decision last week to appoint a special envoy for Ukraine negotiations, former US ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, who is widely considered to be a hawk on Russian Federation.

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.

Poroshenko thanked Tillerson for the continued USA commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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When asked about the meeting on Sunday, Tillerson said, "In all candidness we did not expect an answer other than the one we received".

Photo Mr. Tillerson, left, assured Mr. Poroshenko during their meeting that the United States was setting a high bar for lifting sanctions on Russian Federation.

Mr Tillerson recently suggested that Kiev and Moscow might achieve a peace agreement outside the framework of the Minsk deal, and he travelled to Ukraine with the new United States special envoy to the country, Kurt Volker.

Following a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Tillerson told reporters the Trump administration will keep sanctions against Russia in place until Ukraine regains the breakaway eastern provinces controlled by ethnic Russian rebels, which he called Moscow's "proxies" in the Donbass region.

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He also served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in the final months of Bush's administration and in the early months the Obama administration.

"Kiev did not plan, did not start this war", he said. The Ukrainian government contends that political reform depends on an end to the violence. "We have to find a way to begin to address that, and it's not going to be only about Russian Federation, it's going to be about global engagement as well".

Speaking to a group of reform advocates at the US ambassador's residence, Tillerson praised Ukraine's progress in combating graft but made clear that more must be accomplished. "We want to acknowledge that, (but) we still have more to do", he said. Washington calls it an "annexation" and says that the sanctions will not be lifted until the peninsula becomes part of Ukraine again. "After the talks in Hamburg at the G20 summit we were informed today in detail about what was discussed, and we agreed on our further actions", Poroshenko said.

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