US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has stated that his country strongly supports Georgia's membership in NATO, Agenda.ge reports. "It stands as the single most hard obstacle to us renormalizing the relationship with Russian Federation, which we badly would like to do".
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is planning a trip to Africa in the first three months of next year, a senior aide said on Wednesday, amid speculation how long Tillerson might stay in the job.
Moscow has denied supplying arms and fighters.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the OSCE conference that "all the responsibility is with Ukraine" as far as violence in the east was concerned.
The OSCE has around 600 unarmed monitors in Ukraine and the USA and European leaders are considering adding United Nations peacekeepers to the county to bolster them.
But Western powers, led by the United States, want a force with a robust mandate that would allow it to protect the 600 OSCE monitors there, police ceasefire lines and investigate ceasefire breaches across eastern Ukraine. "We call on Russian Federation and its proxies to end its harassment, intimidation and its attacks on the OSCE special monitoring mission".
Tillerson said he hoped to agree to deploy United Nations troops to eastern Ukraine, an idea the Russian president floated in September.
In his speech, he referred to the 2015 Minsk ceasefire agreement, brokered in the Belarussian capital by France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.
The U.S. has decried Moscow's military involvement in eastern Ukraine, where it has backed pro-Russia separatists, and its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Speaking at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Tillerson went even further in spelling out Russia's involvement in the conflict and the consequences it faced than he had the day before when he met North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in Brussels.
"Of all the challenges confronting the OSCE today, none is more challenging nor vexing than the situation in Ukraine", he warned, stressing the U.S. will never lift sanctions until Russian Federation returns control of Crimea and the disputed Donbass region to Ukraine.