Tillerson Top US diplomat to visit Ukraine

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Ukraine following the G20 Summit in Hamburg, sending a message that Washington remains committed to the country's sovereignty despite Moscow's takeover of the Crimea region.

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is visiting Ukraine this week after a G20 summit in Germany play

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is visiting Ukraine this week after a G20 summit in Germany

(AFP/File)
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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Ukraine following the G20 Summit in Hamburg, sending a message that Washington remains committed to the country's sovereignty despite Moscow's takeover of the Crimea region.

The State Department said Wednesday that Tillerson will visit Kiev on July 9 to meet President Petro Poroshenko and reformers from government and non-governmental groups.

"The secretary will reaffirm America's commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, while encouraging the government of Ukraine to continue implementing reforms that will strengthen Ukraine's economic, political, and military resilience," said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

Tillerson's trip to Kiev, his first as secretary of state, will follow an expected meeting this week between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit amid strained relations between the two superpowers.

Last month Moscow cancelled a planned meeting between diplomats of both sides that was supposed to try and smooth relations.

The meeting was called off after Washington widened sanctions on Russia over its interference in Ukraine and the 2014 occupation of Crimea.

Washington has insisted that the punitive sanctions will stay in place until Russia honors the Minsk agreement to disengage from eastern Ukraine and returns Crimea to Kiev.

Nauert said that after the Ukraine visit Tillerson will head to Turkey for two days of meetings with senior Turkish officials on bilateral and regional issues.

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