Visiting with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson quickly derailed any hopes of a US-Russia rapprochement emerging from last week’s meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin, insisting that US sanctions are going to remain on Russia.
Tillerson insists that the “fundamental” US goal in the region is to restore Ukraine to its pre-revolution size, and that Russia sanctions would be in place until that happens. This includes not only long-standing demands that Russia somewhat reverse Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and accession into the Russian Federation, but end the rebellion in Eastern Ukraine.
Poroshenko welcomed the move, and added that any failures in the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine were the fault of the Russians. Both sides have accused one another of repeated violations, but in practice the ceasefire has largely been in place for the past year and a half.
The US position on the Minsk ceasefire is ultimately neither here nor there, since the US didn’t participate in the ceasefire’s negotiation, nor endorse it in any way in the first place. At the time, US officials criticized the effort by Germany and France to broker the deal with Russia.