United States warns Russian Federation over Ukraine as OSCE meets

United States warns Russian Federation over Ukraine as OSCE meets

Vienna, Dec 7 US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said today that Ukraine was the sole sticking point keeping the United States and Russian Federation from forging a closer relationship, suggesting that all other disputes were secondary.

Speaking in front of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a meeting of foreign ministers in Vienna, Tillerson said the U.S. will not tolerate Russian aggression in Crimea.

"And Russia's continued use of hybrid warfare seeks to undermine Western institutions, and this stands as a significant obstacle to normalizing our relations, as well".

Before arriving in Vienna, Tillerson, who was due to meet Lavrov later on Thursday on the sidelines of the OSCE meeting, said agreeing on an effective force was now Washington's main priority.

"We can have difference in other arenas. but when one country invades another that is a difference that is hard to look past or to reconcile", he warned.

Tillerson insisted the United States could never overlook Russia's "attempted annexation" of Crimea or Moscow's military intrusion in eastern Ukraine.

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"Of all the challenges confronting the OSCE today, none is more challenging nor vexing than the situation in Ukraine", he warned, stressing the USA will never lift sanctions until Russian Federation returns control of Crimea and the disputed Donbass region to Ukraine.

"Russia has long resisted a peacekeeping force, but they have agreed now", he said after North Atlantic Treaty Organisation talks on Wednesday.

After long resisting the idea, Russia has suggested deploying a United Nations peacekeeping force to help end the war between Ukraine's government and Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country that has killed over 10,000 people since 2014.

"We should be clear about the source of this violence".

Tillerson, who will meet with his Moscow counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, later Thursday, said the USA will "never accept Russia's occupation and attempted annexation" of Crimea and will continue sanctions until the peninsula is returned to full control of Ukraine.

"We call on Russian Federation and its proxies to end the harassment, intimidation and its attacks on the OSCE special monitoring mission", he demanded.

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