Tillerson: U.S. will ‘never accept’ Russia’s Crimea annexation

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made it clear that as long as President Trump is in office the U.S. would never “accept” Russia’s annexation of the Crimea.

“We will never accept Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea,” Tillerson vowed in his opening remarks at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Russia is “arming, leading, training and fighting alongside anti-government forces” in Eastern Ukraine, he added, sitting across from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

For his part, the Russian diplomat rattled off a list of complaints that included NATO’s continued expansion and the West’s increasing limits on Russian language reporters.

“We’ve reached an absolute low point regarding confidence between the main players,” the secretary general of the security forum, Thomas Greminger, told reporters at the start of the conclave.

Tillerson’s remarks appear to be at odds with those of President Trump, who has spoken often of wanting to improve relations with Moscow. However, the rift between Moscow and Washington over a host of issues — including this one — shows no signs of abating anytime soon.

“President Trump, as you know, throughout his campaign was very clear that he views it as very important that Russia and the United States have a better relationship, but the issue that stands in the way is Ukraine,” Tillerson said at a news conference with the Austrian foreign minister, Sebastian Kurz. [source]

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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