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    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko centre, Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee, US Senator John McCain, centre left, US Senator Lindsey Graham, centre right, and US Senator Amy Klobuchar pose for photo with the Ukrainian marines, during their working trip to the Donetsk region to congratulate Ukrainian servicemen on the upcoming New Year, in the village Shyrokine, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016

    Trump Wants to Relaunch Ukraine Peace Process for Improvement of US-Russia Ties

    © AP Photo / Mikhail Palinchak/Presidential Press Service
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    The administration of US President Donald Trump reportedly wants to restart the Ukrainian peace process as part of efforts aimed at improving relations with Russia.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Trump is determined to try to improve relations with Russia despite the spread of skepticism across the administration caused by the scandal over alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election, The Washington Post newspaper reported Sunday.

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is reportedly leading the behind-the-scenes efforts trying to revitalize Trump’s plan to normalize relations with Russia that has not of yet succeeded.

    Citing US officials and outside experts, the newspaper reports that Tillerson wants to restart the talks hoping that new circumstances and personalities could bring better results than any previous attempts. Tillerson is said to have already held multiple discussions on the issue with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

    Ukrainian Armed Forces
    © Photo : President of the Ukraine Press-Service
    The US administration is also engaged in a robust interagency process to develop a new strategy with Vice President Mike Pence being involved in it.

    Tillerson reportedly wants to tap a special envoy at the Department of State to deal with the Ukrainian issue. The envoy is expected to revitalize the diplomatic channel with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aide Vladislav Surkov – a task which was not formerly fulfilled by former Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland.

    US-Russian relations deteriorated in 2014 following the eruption of the Ukrainian crisis and Crimea’s rejoining with Russia. The United States and its allies introduced sanctions against Russia over its alleged interference in the Ukrainian internal affairs, while Russia denied all the allegations.

    On May 24, Trump reiterated in a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, US determination to maintain transatlantic accord for holding Russia responsible for the situation in the Donbass region.

    The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Despite the agreement brokered by the Normandy Four states (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine), the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.

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    Tags:
    Ukrainian crisis, Vladislav Surkov, Donald Trump, Rex Tillerson, Donbass, Russia, Ukraine, United States
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