US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Seeks to Soften Policy Towards Russia

16.06.2017 10:03

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled that the administration doesn’t want to be "handcuffed" if Moscow and Kiev can settle their dispute another way.

Tillerson said the administration wants the flexibility to intensify or ease sanctions against Russia depending on whether relations improve.

"It is very possible that the government of Ukraine and the government of Russia could come to a satisfactory resolution through some structure other than Minsk but would achieve the objectives of Minsk, which we’re committed to. So our caution is I wouldn’t want to have ourselves handcuffed to Minsk if it turns out the parties decide to settle this through a different agreement", – Tillerson stressed.

Tillerson’s comments marked a shift from the stance he took at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels in March, when he said the U.S. wouldn’t ease sanctions on Russia unless it met its commitments under the Minsk deal. At the time, he thanked Germany and France for leading efforts to find a solution for Ukraine.