Ukraine - biggest obstacle to normal Russian Federation ties, says Tillerson

Tillerson Ukraine- biggest obstacle to normal Russia ties

Tillerson Ukraine- biggest obstacle to normal Russia ties

"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.

Russia's RIA news agency reported on Thursday that the Russian minister passed on the North's desire for talks during his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held on the sidelines of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Ministerial Council in Vienna, Austria.

Washington's first priority in dealing with the war in Ukraine is to reach agreement on a United Nations peacekeeping force, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday.

"We can have differences in other arenas, in Syria, we can have differences in other areas", Tillerson said. "It stands as the single most hard obstacle to us renormalising the relationship with Russian Federation, which we badly would like to do".

President Donald Trump campaigned on the need to improve ties with Russia, Tillerson said in Vienna, adding that "normalizing" the relationship was something the US still "badly would like to do".

"We will continue to work with Russian Federation to see if we could not agree a peacekeeping force that could enter Ukraine (and) reduce the violence", Tillerson told the news conference.

The United States and its allies want peacekeepers to have a broad mission to protect about 600 OSCE monitors now on the ground and investigate cease-fire violations throughout eastern Ukraine.

Both Tillerson and Lavrov made their sharp remarks before they sat down to meet in late afternoon.

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 will never accept Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea".

"Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russian Federation returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine", Tillerson added.

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