"As we search for new common ground we expect Russia to honor its commitment to the Minsk agreements and work to de-escalate violence in Ukraine," Tillerson told reporters after meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Reuters reported.

Tillerson said he had a productive meeting with Lavrov and the two men discussed a range of issues of mutual concern. He gave no details aside from his comments on Ukraine and answered no questions.

His comments on the Ukraine crisis came two days before a four-way meeting of the German, French, Russian and Ukrainian ministers that is due to take place on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.

Read alsoReuters: White House says Trump expects Russia to return Crimea to UkraineTillerson said Washington was ready to work with Russia, but would stand up for its interests in areas where there were differences.

"Where we do not see eye to eye, the United States will stand up for the interests and values of America and her allies," he said.