Secret Meetings Behind Closed Doors and Sharp Criticism in Public Between US and Russia

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov met privately – behind closed doors Vienna to discuss their differences over Ukraine, but their public comments were explosive when they had addressed the OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Vienna, they traded allegations about interference in Ukraine and there appeared little room for compromise.

The United States is committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. We call for full implementation of the Minsk agreements. We will never accept Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea. Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine.

Tillerson added: „We should be clear about the source of this violence: Russia is arming, leading, training, and fighting alongside anti-government forces. We call on Russia and its proxies to end its harassment, intimidation, and its attacks on the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.”

Russia’s foreign minister called on Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) countries to strengthen efforts to ensure the safety of the internet on Thursday.

Moscow faces widespread allegations that it interfered in the U.S. presidential election and was behind a wave of destructive global hacking attacks. It has denied any involvement in either. “We urge concentrating on (the) elaboration and implementation of specific additional confidence building measures in order to secure the cyber security and not to waste breath with unfounded accusations without any fact,” Sergei Lavrov told a meeting of foreign ministers from OSCE countries.

Lavrov also urged member states to consolidate efforts in the fight against drugs in sport, two days after Russia was banned from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it had found evidence of “systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system. “We confirm our proposal to establish in the (OSCE) secretariat a separate anti-drug structure,” Lavrov said. The Russian foreign minister also said Russia would continue to implement OSCE projects for the training of counter narcotic police officers.

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