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US Must Recognize Russia’s Concern Over Stability in Eastern Europe - Tillerson

© AP Photo / Pablo Martinez MonsivaisSecretary of State Rex Tillerson gestures during a interview with the Associated Press at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gestures during a interview with the Associated Press at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018 - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States and Russia must recognize Moscow’s concerns about creating stability in Eastern Europe and the situations in Ukraine and Syria, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an interview.

"So we try to stay focused on the really big issues between us, which is Syria and the situation there, the situation in Ukraine and… creating stability in Eastern Europe, and recognize what Russia’s concerns are," Tillerson told CNN in an interview that aired on Friday.

Tillerson also said that the United States and Russia have "important" upcoming meetings on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

READ MORE: US Weapons Sales to Poland Fuel Tensions in Europe – Russian Lawmaker

Since 2014, the United States has been further boosting its military presence in Europe, particularly as part of NATO, while using the Ukrainian crisis as a pretext for the deployment of additional hardware near Russia's borders, with Moscow calling the actions provocative and warning that they could lead to regional and global destabilization.

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In 2015 the United States activated its Aegis ashore ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) in Romania equipped with the Mk-41 launcher, prompting Russian concerns over US violations of the intermediate missile treaty (INF). Moscow considers the Mk-41 to be capable of launching Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles.

In July 2017 the Polish Ministry of National Defense and the US Department of Defense signed an agreement on the delivery of Patriot missile defense systems to Warsaw during US President Donald Trump's visit to Poland. According to the initial deal, the Patriot systems should be handed over to Poland by 2022.

READ MORE: Russia to Take Into Account US Missile Defense System Deployment in Japan

Russia has repeatedly informed the US partners about its concerns over Washington breaching its international commitments by expanding the missile defense system, however, the US ignores Russia's appeals.

In December 2017 the Air Force Times newspaper reported that the US is planning to spend approximately $214 million on upgrading and building military structures and installations on its air bases in Eastern Europe, Norway and Iceland as part of a deterrence initiative against Russia, which prompted harsh response from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

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