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President Petro Poroshenko announced that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would arrive in Ukraine in late June. The fact that Tillerson plans to come not alone, but with the recently appointed Special Representative of the State Department, Kurt Volker, became known last Friday, July 7. Information about this appeared after the meeting of the US and Russian presidents in the margins of the G20 summit in Hamburg, which, as you know, lasted for more than two hours. At this meeting, the presidents agreed to create a channel for the settlement of the situation in Donbas, and experts predicted that Kurt Voker, special representative, would be engaged in its creation and work. By the way, Tillerson did not comment on this information: during a press conference he stressed only that Volker will stay in Kyiv for several days to understand the prospects for settling the conflict in Donbas.
Thus, Tillerson's visit to the country was not spontaneous. According to the State Department, it was planned in one block with the visit of the Secretary of State to Hamburg, and then to Turkey and Kuwait (July 5-10). At the same time, the president of the Ukrainian Foreign Policy Association, Volodymyr Khandogiy, predicted that the main purpose of the visit was to inform President Petro Poroshenko of the essence of the Trump-Putin talks in Hamburg. There is an informal agreement between Ukraine and the United States: Americans inform Ukraine about negotiations with Russians that affect the conflict in Ukraine.
At a press conference, Petro Poroshenko noted that the Ukrainian side was informed in detail about the essence of the negotiations that were held in Hamburg at the G20 summit, saying that "the Ukrainian and American sides also coordinated further actions."
Rex Tillerson flew to Ukraine on Sunday. In addition to the main meeting with President Poroshenko, he had meetings with representatives of the public and reformers, as well as with the staff of the US Embassy in Ukraine.
President Petro Poroshenko spoke first. He began with thanking the United States. According to him, one of the key results of the meeting is that the interaction was coordinated, the algorithm of common work with the aim of further promotion of the Minsk process. Poroshenko stressed that Ukraine is committed to the peace process and adheres to the commitments undertaken in the framework of the Minsk agreements.
Poroshenko said that he informed the US Secretary of State about the current situation in Donbas, as well as the situation with limitations on the effective functioning of the OSCE by the Russian Federation. Rex Tillerson listened with great attention and nodded in some places, apparently expressing his agreement. His face was deeply thoughtful, but demonstrated participation at the same time.
Rex Tillerson listened with great attention and nodded from time to time, apparently in agreement. His face was deeply thoughtful, but demonstrated participation.
In his speech, he assured that the US would not abolish sanctions against the Russian Federation before the de-occupation of Crimea and the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
The Secretary assured the US commitment to the resumption of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. Tillerson noted that during repeated talks with the Russian leadership it is important for Russia to take the first steps to de-escalate the situation in the East of Ukraine.
US Secretary of State that with topic of Russia’s interruption into American elections began the dialogue between Trump and Putin, and Trump was first who asked this question. He did not go into details. During his speech, Tillerson also reported important information that the special representative Kurt Volker will spend several days in Ukraine to understand the prospects for settling the conflict in Donbas.
What surprised him in his words? Mentioning about the land reform. Most of the statements, for example, representatives of the Obama administration, were related to the importance of fighting corruption. Tillerson has also stressed this. But he also consistently complied with Ukraine's "commitments to the IMF, land reform and corporate governance reform."
After the end of the press conference, Tillerson and Poroshenko left the room together. Descending the stairs, they continued the conversation, the other members of the delegations followed them a short distance.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit did not provide answers to most of the questions that have recently been actively discussed in Ukraine. Is it possible that the US will act as one of the sides of the Norman format? What did Putin and Trump agree on at the meeting in Hamburg? How will the channel work to resolve the situation in Donbas?
It remains a feeling that there have not been any breakthroughs, and nothing concrete has been achieved: the processes are continuing.
According to the president of the Ukrainian Foreign Policy Association, Volodymyr Khandogiya, no breakthroughs were expected. "The visit of Rex Tillerson to Ukraine was informational in nature. His aim was to inform Petro Poroshenko about the essence of the talks between Donald Trump and Putin in Hamburg," the expert said, stressing the importance of the arrival of a special representative to Ukraine who will learn the situation.
There are other versions. For example, that Tillerson flew just to look around, show a gesture of attention to Ukrainian problems, perhaps, to hint to the authorities about the problems (corruption, the need to speed up reforms, etc.). It is significant that Tillerson before the visit to Poroshenko looked to those who criticize the president. It is not excluded that Kurt Volcker will receive broad powers in Ukraine, as previously Victoria Nuland had. So, Tillerson introduced his representative to Poroshenko. Certainly, by autumn it will be clear which vector of the solution of Ukrainian problems was chosen by the new Administration in the United States.
It is noteworthy that Rex Tillerson's visit to Ukraine almost coincided with the arrival of such important personalities as UN Secretary General António Guterres and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.