01:33 GMT +319 February 2019
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    Tillerson: Special Representative for Ukraine Appointed Upon Putin Request

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    US special representative for the Ukraine negotiations was appointed by the United States upon request by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US special representative for the Ukraine negotiations was appointed by the United States upon request by Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a briefing in Hamburg.

    "At the request of President Putin, the United States has appointed — and you’ve seen, I think, the announcement of Special Representative for Ukraine, Ambassador Kurt Volker," Tillerson said on Friday. "Ambassador Volker will draw on his decades of experience in the US Diplomatic Corps, both as a representative to NATO and also his time as a permanent political appointment."

    Earlier on Friday, the State Department announced that Tillerson has appointed former Permanent Representative to NATO Kurt Volker as special representative for Ukraine negotiations.

    On Wednesday, a senior State Department official told reporters that Washington was mulling appointing a special representative to coordinate the implementation of the Minsk agreement.

    In February 2015, the warring parties to the Ukrainian conflict in Donbas signed the Minsk peace accords in order to cease fire in the crisis-torn region. Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine, as the members of the Normandy Four, helped negotiate the Donbas ceasefire. The truce, however, has been repeatedly breached, with Kiev forces and Donbas militia accusing each other of violating it.

    In June, US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft said that Washington supported the Normandy process on the Ukrainian reconciliation and expected that Russia would contribute to ending the conflict in Ukraine. A similar position was voiced by US Vice President Mike Pence later that month.


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