Secretary of State Rex Tillerson blasted Russian Federation on Thursday for inciting violence in Ukraine by backing rebels and vowed that the U.S. will keep sanctions in place until Moscow withdraws its forces from the country.
During his trip to Europe, which began in Brussels and will end in Paris, Tillerson has taken a tougher stance on Russia than U.S. President Donald Trump, who has sought better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, offering some comfort to European allies.
"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.
Washington, in contrast, has in mind a much more robust United Nations mission that would police ceasefire lines and investigate ceasefire breaches across eastern Ukraine, building the conditions for lasting peace.
But Lavrov, in his opening remarks to the OSCE ministerial council, argued that the bigger mission idea could become "an occupational administration" and be tantamount to attempting "to solve this problem by force". "The goal is that Russian Federation withdraws from Donbas together with its occupation administration, and the global component enters there, reaches the minimum level of security, takes control of the whole territory and gradually begins to prepare this region for the elections", Klimkin said in his video blog from the OSCE Ministerial Meeting in Vienna, published on the YouTube channel on December 7.
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.
"We should be clear about the source of this violence".
"Russia is arming, leading, training and fighting alongside anti-government forces".
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.