United States to maintain Russian Federation sanctions until it withdraws from Ukraine, Tillerson says

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Trump calls on Saudis to "immediately" lift Yemen blockade Trump has yet to name ambassadors to key nations in Mideast Mattis, Tillerson warned Trump of security concerns in Israel embassy move MORE said Thursday that Russia's involvement in Ukraine remained the major barrier to warmer relations between Washington and Moscow.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prepares for the beginning of a meeting of OSCE Foreign Ministers in Vienna, Austria, December 7, 2017.

"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.

"Russia is arming, leading, training and fighting alongside anti-government forces".

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"In eastern Ukraine we join our European partners in maintaining sanctions until Russian Federation withdraws its forces from the Donbass (region) and meets its Minsk commitments", Tillerson said, referring to a previous deal to promote peace in Ukraine.

But Russia envisions a limited force to simply protect the existing 600-strong group of unarmed OSCE observers, who are struggling to monitor a shaky ceasefire in a conflict that has already left 10,000 dead since 2014. "The goal is that Russian Federation withdraws from Donbas together with its occupation administration, and the worldwide component enters there, reaches the minimum level of security, takes control of the whole territory and gradually begins to prepare this region for the elections", Klimkin said in his video blog from the OSCE Ministerial Meeting in Vienna, published on the YouTube channel on December 7.

Economic sanctions were placed on Russian Federation by then-US President Barack Obama in 2014 following the country's military action in Crimea and Ukraine.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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