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10 July 2017, 12:53 | Frank Carlson
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to arrive in Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on July 9 in his first official visit to Ukraine.
"After my meeting and telephone conversations in Berlin, Paris, as well as meetings in Hamburg, understanding has been reached that a telephone conversation of the Normandy Four leaders is most likely to take place in July".
During his short news conference in Kiev with Mr. Poroshenko, who took office after one of Mr. Putin's acolytes was pushed from power, Mr. Tillerson also declined to say whether Mr. Trump, during his meeting with the Russian president, accepted Mr. Putin's denials that Russia was involved in efforts to influence the 2016 election.
"As yet, unclear where", he said.
"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", he 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 USA special envoy to the country, Kurt Volker.
"We do call on Russian Federation to honour its commitments", Tillerson said Sunday, referring to a peace deal aimed at halting the conflict between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia rebels. Tillerson is in Ukraine to reaffirm American support as the country struggles with an insurgency in the east and attempts to crack down on corruption.
The Secretary appointed a special representative for Ukraine last week, in an effort to further involve the U.S.in the region.
Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, a longtime diplomat, will be responsible for advancing U.S. interests as set out in the 2015 Minsk agreement to curb the conflict in Ukraine's Donbass region. Under the Obama administration, the US had taken a hands-off approach to Minsk, allowing the Europeans to take the lead.
"Kiev did not plan, did not start this war", he said.
"Ukraine has come a long way", he said.
"Most of all we want peace in Ukraine".
The US imposed sanctions against Russian Federation, with the latest expansion in late June, after Russia's reunification with Crimea following a 2014 referendum.
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