“Well, it has been a difficult year with Russia. We clearly -- and I've said clearly, the President stated clearly -- our two nations should have a more productive relationship,” he said,
Tillerson added that at the moment the relationship between the countries is strained, but the countries had cooperated closely over the past year.
“We have to be very open and candid and frank with one another about what both of us -- and I think Foreign Minister Lavrov is as committed to trying to improve this relationship as I am, these are difficult issues and we have made it clear that the keystone is really Ukraine,” Tillerson emphasized.
The Secretary of State added that the United States and Russia found ways to cooperate in Syria, nearly defeating the ISIS there, so now they need to achieve progress in other spheres too.
“So we try to stay focused on the really big issues between us which is Syria and the situation there, situation in Ukraine, and Eastern Europe, and creating stability in Eastern Europe, and recognizing what Russia's concerns are.”