Michael McFaul

Assistant Secretary Nuland Travel to Russia … (from @StateDept)

Assistant Secretary Nuland Travel to Russia

Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland is in Moscow May 17-18 to meet with senior Russian government officials to discuss next steps in Minsk implementation, following her May 14-16 visit to Kyiv, Ukraine and Secretary Kerry’s May 12 meetings in Sochi, Russia. She will also discuss bilateral issues with Russian officials, and meet with civil society representatives.

Kremlin Says Nuland's Visit to Moscow a Sign Ties are Improving | News | The Moscow Times

A visit to Russia by Victoria Nuland, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, is a sign that relations between Moscow and the United States may be improving, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

Nuland's visit follows U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week to discuss issues such as the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

Asked if Nuland's visit was a sign of improving ties, Peskov told journalists: "Yes, when President Putin was meeting with Minister Lavrov and Secretary of State Kerry... it was mentioned that a closer dialogue ... was needed."

The Kremlin statement came as a senior NATO official said it was still unclear whether Russia was prepared to take steps to support the Minsk agreement to ease the conflict in Ukraine.

"It is still not clear despite Russia's words, whether in its actual deeds Russia intends to support the implementation of Minsk," Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow told NATO's parliamentary assembly in Budapest.

"Russia is trying to pretend that it's not a party to the conflict and that Ukraine should deal directly with the separatists," he said, adding that Moscow would face more isolation and sanctions if the deal collapsed.