Ukraine will remain an obstacle to improving relations between the U.S. and Russia until the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
This was stated by the head of the State Department, Rex Tillerson, at a press conference in Moscow after a meeting with the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergei Lavrov.
"Until full progress is made under the Minsk Accords, the situation in Ukraine will remain an obstacle to improvement in relations between the U.S. and Russia," he said.
The Secretary noted that Russia could influence the reduction of violence and the withdrawal of troops in the Donbas.
"Russia can make progress in implementation [of the Minsk Agreements] by de-escalating violence and taking steps to withdraw separatist armed forces and heavy weapons so that OSCE observers can fulfill their role,” Tillerson said.
In turn, Lavrov said that Russia and the United States could resume direct consultations on the Ukrainian issue.
"We have felt the interest of the current administration to continue bilateral contacts on the subject in order to help find practical ways to implement fully the Minsk agreements," the Russian minister said.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko spoke with Tillerson on the phone. According to him, the Secretary of State promised not to allow any package agreements to resolve the situations in Ukraine and Syria.
As reported by Reuters, the Kremlin found Tillerson to be "unexpectedly hostile." Nevertheless, Moscow declared its readiness to restore the memorandum on Syria, which had been terminated after the US missile strike.
After the meeting with Lavrov, Tillerson met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.