U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Ukraine for the first time on Sunday, meeting President Petro Poroshenko for talks.
Afterwards Tillerson said it is Russia that must take the first steps to stop the fighting in the east of the country.
He also repeated that Washington’s primary goal is the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
“We do call on Russia to honour its commitments that were made under the Minsk accord and exercise influence over the separatists in the region whom they do hold complete control over. And we call on them, again, to immediately call on their proxies to cease the violence that is ongoing in east Ukraine,” he said.
Tillerson also repeated that Russian interference in the U.S. election last year was still impeding better relations with Moscow – in fact US Russian relations are at their lowest point since the Cold War.
The downward trajectory in that relationship began when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 which led both the EU and the US to impose economic sanctions on Russia.