Tillerson’s Putin conversation draws U.S. and Russia tiffs

By Dima Kashut, For CNN • Updated 13th January 2017

There’s no love lost between the United States and Russia.

Its trade statements, however, might be drawn closer.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a meeting Friday that “no country has the right to destabilize Ukraine” after they disagreed over a Ukrainian journalist’s murder.

“We deeply disagree on this,” the Russian minister told reporters after his meeting with Tillerson and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Radiyslava Rodionova

Lavrov’s statement was widely reported by Russian media, but mixed in with the headlines was an explanation of the reported US wording by CNN’s Jim Sciutto.

According to the Times of London , Tillerson’s statements on Ukraine:

“The United States calls on Russia to put an end to harassment of Ukrainian government officials”

“Denies role of any Russian institution in killing of reporter”

“Stresses the need for an honest and open investigation”

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Sciutto said Tillerson’s stated intentions have not been supported by its published remarks.

Last month Tillerson warned Russia against destabilizing neighboring nations, including Ukraine and Georgia, saying the alliance won’t accept any conflict areas for which Moscow has a hand.

Georgia and Ukraine, which gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, have sought to reduce tensions since then. Russia backed pro-Russian separatists during the five-year separatist war in Eastern Ukraine, which led to the deaths of more than 10,000 people.

The US State Department offered no immediate comment on the issue.

The two nations further squabbled on Thursday over Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian ships and crews at the Kerch Strait near Crimea. Russia has blamed Ukraine for the confrontation, while Ukraine says Russian was behind the incident, but considers it not an act of aggression.

Noted Russia commentator Vladimir Solovyov, who is known for his visceral right-wing views, said that Tillerson had behaved much better than his predecessor, John Kerry.

Earlier this week, Kerry said he wanted better ties with Russia, but would not compromise U.S. national security interests.

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