US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called on Russian Federation to end the violence in eastern Ukraine and says that American and European sanctions would remain in place until Moscow reversed policy in the region.
In surprisingly blunt language just two days after presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met in Germany, Tillerson said Russian Federation should use its influence with separatists in Ukraine's east to fully restore an oft-violated truce, end harassment and attacks on worldwide monitors and pull back heavy weaponry to lines agreed upon under a two-year-old accord known as the Minsk Agreement.
"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", Tillerson 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".
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 U.S. special envoy to the country, Kurt Volker.
In a joint press conference on Sunday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, Tillerson said Washington's primary goal is restoring Ukraine's "integrity and sovereignty". According to a senior state Department official, Tillerson during the visit will present to the Ukrainian President his view of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
Earlier, the US state Department reported that the head of Department Rex Tillerson July 9, will pay a working visit to Kiev to meet with Poroshenko.
His appointment suggests Washington wants to play a bigger role in efforts to resolve the conflict in Donbas, which until now have centred on the so-called Normandy format of talks involving Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France.
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.
Tillerson also addressed Mr. Trump's meeting with Putin.
"Kiev did not plan, did not start this war", he added. "I don't know if we will ever come to an agreement, obviously with our Russian counterparts on that".
"You can count on our strong commitment to support humanitarian action to bring some relief to the people that have been displaced", Guterres said.