Rex Tillerson says U.S. sanctions against Russia to remain in place

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson takes part in a NATO foreign ministers meeting at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium March 31, 2017. 

REUTERS/Virginia Mayo/Pool

Last Updated Mar 31, 2017 1:08 PM EDT

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that U.S. sanctions imposed against Russia in response to its aggression in Ukraine will “remain in place” until Russia returns control of Crimea to Ukraine.

“Crimea-related sanctions must remain in place until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine. Even in the face of Russia’s aggression, Ukraine has accomplished a great deal domestically. We applaud recent reform successes, including anti-corruption efforts and pursuing necessary reforms to meet IMF conditionality,” Tillerson said at the NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting in Brussels.

In his remarks, Tillerson also said that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in 2014 “shook the very foundations of security and stability in Europe.”

“Today, Russia’s ongoing hostility and occupation is compromising our shared vision of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace,” he said.

Tillerson indicated that the U.S. would continue to support Ukraine militarily and noted that the U.S. has committed more than $600 million in security assistance to Ukraine and in addition to bilateral contributions, he said that the U.S. also committed $1.3 million to the Partnership for Peace Trust Fund on Small Arms and Light Weapons and also contributed to the NATO-Ukraine Trust Fund on Countering Improvised Explosive Devices.

His remarks were notable given President Trump’s remarks during the campaign that he would want to forge deals with Russia. During the transition, he and his aides also suggested his administration might relax U.S. sanctions imposed against Russia.

During the campaign last summer, Mr. Trump came under fire for not realizing in an interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin had already invaded Ukraine when it annexed Crimea in 2014. He also suggested that he might recognize Russia’s control of Crimea.

CBS News’ Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.