This was announced by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Manila on Monday, Censor.NET reports citing TIME.
A day after sitting down in the Philippines with Russia's top diplomat Sergey Lavrov, Tillerson said he'd asked "clarifying questions" about the Kremlin's retaliation announced last month following new sanctions passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.
The Trump administration has struggled to determine how the move will affect the U.S. diplomatic presence in Russia, as well as the broader implications for the troubled relationship between the nuclear-armed powers.
Despite the Russian move, which seemed to plunge the two countries even further into acrimony, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emerged from the meeting declaring a readiness for more engagement with the U.S. on North Korea, Syria and Ukraine, among other issues. Tillerson broadly echoed that sentiment, saying the two countries had critical national security issues to discuss despite deep disagreements on some matters.
"I don't think it is useful to just cut everything off on one single issue," Tillerson said following his first meeting with Lavrov since the new sanctions were imposed. "These are two very large countries and we should find places that we can work together, let's try to work together. Places we have our differences, we're going to have to continue to find a way to address those."
Tillerson also said that Russia has been showing "some willingness" to start talking about a resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, devoid of real progress for years. That assessment came as Lavrov announced that the Trump administration had committed to sending its new special envoy for Ukraine negotiations, Kurt Volker, to Moscow to discuss next steps.
On Aug. 2, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the bill on more sanctions against the Russian Federation. In late July, the U.S. Senate passed the new sanctions bill against Russia overwhelmingly and sent it to Trump for signature. Russia in response restricted U.S. diplomatic missions' access to several facilities and demanded to shorten the staff of the mission by 755 people by Sept. 1.
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