Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that US sanctions against Russia will remain in place until Moscow “reverses the actions” it has taken in Ukraine.

The comments are notable given President Donald Trump’s reluctance at times to criticize Russia over its actions in Crimea, though he did declare last month that the territory was “taken” by Russia. As a candidate, Trump hinted he might recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and sources have previously told CNN that Ukraine-related sanctions were on the table for review as part of Trump’s interest in pursuing warmer ties with Moscow.

“We do not, and will not, accept Russian efforts to change the borders of territory of Ukraine,” Tillerson said at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Earlier Friday, Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis criticized Russian actions in overseas comments aimed at reassuring US allies.

Mattis, appearing with his British counterpart in London, also called out the Putin regime for “mucking around” in other people’s elections — a claim that comes as federal and congressional investigators are probing alleged Russian meddling in the US elections last November.

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“Defense Secretary James Mattis just learned the White House doesn’t have his back when it comes to choosing staffers”


Mattis was unable to fill his undersecretary for policy post because Trump refused to oppose right-wing senators PIC IS SEC STATE, REX TILLERSON