KIEV, Ukraine — The Latest on U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Ukraine (all times local):
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has told Russia that it must take the first steps to reduce tensions in eastern Ukraine and that American and European sanctions would remain in place until Moscow reversed course in the region.
Tillerson was speaking in Ukraine on Sunday, two days after presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met in Germany.
Tillerson’s tough talk clearly pleased Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has long complained about Russian interference in his country’s east and has watched nervously as the Trump administration has sought to improve ties with Moscow.
Poroshenko thanked Tillerson for the continued U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He also expressed deep appreciation for his “symbolic and timely visit immediately after the meetings at the G-20 in Hamburg” where Trump met with Putin.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Ukraine to reaffirm American support as the country struggles with a Russia-backed insurgency in the east and attempts to crack down on corruption.
Tillerson meets Sunday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, just 48 hours after sitting in on President Donald Trump’s first face-to-face talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Germany.
His short visit to Kiev comes as the U.S. explores taking a greater role in a European-led effort to end the three-year conflict in Ukraine’s east that has claimed around 10,000 lives. Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
Tillerson has appointed a special envoy to examine possibilities for jump-starting implementation of a two-year-old peace roadmap known as the Minsk Agreement.