The U.S. diplomat Wednesday said that there can be no normal relations with Russia as long as Moscow continues supporting terrorists in Ukraine and occupying Crimea, Censor.NET reports citing the Voice of America.
Delivering his speech in NATO, Tillerson said that Russia is trying to torpedo Western institutions by means of a hybrid warfare meaning a combination of Russian-staged cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns directed against the West.
The U.S. Secretary of State told reporters that this was a significant obstacle to the normalization of relations between the countries.
Tillerson also accused Russia of U.S. election meddling as he was having a dinner with the ministers of the NATO member states.
Speaking with the ministers, Tillerson stressed that Ukraine’s crisis that broke out following the occupation of Crimea in 2014 was the main obstacle on the way to improve U.S.-Russia ties since the seizure of sovereign territory was unacceptable.
The armed conflict in the Donbas which started in 2014 has claimed over 10,000 lives while the people continue perishing from this violence every day, he said.
The U.S. Secretary of State said he counted on the deployment of UN peacekeepers in Ukraine’s east but warned that there was still a significant gap between the mandate that could be given to the peacekeeping forces and the territory it would cover.
Tillerson also warned against treating Russia as a partner, saying that all the meetings held with Moscow should tackle certain issues and should not be held just to follow some schedule.
He believes the NATO members share the view that there is no normalization of the dialogue with Russia today.