Russia Relations At All-Time Low

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to reporters at a press conference on Thursday Dec. 18 2014

Reacting to the USA strike Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Washington had carried out an "unjust and unabashed assault" against Syria which 'shows nothing but short-sightedness, a narrowness of vision and blindness to political and military realities'. But so far, it appears the two countries are growing further apart. They range from NATO's expansion and European missile defense systems to a fear the U.S.is promoting opposition to pro-Russian leaders and even Putin himself.

Not only did Lavrov categorically dispute this interpretation of events, saying Russian Federation was "not convinced" by the US' evidence that sarin gas was deliberately used, but called for an "honest investigation" into the attack that he suggested would reveal the U.S. and United Nations were bluffing if it did not come to pass.

"We have agreed that the current stage in our relations regarding the global agenda is not calm, to say the least", Lavrov said.

Russia's top diplomat said Moscow would not "shield anyone" responsible for the attack.

But that one would have condemned the USA missile strikes ordered by President Donald Trump in response to the chemical attack. During his presidential election campaign, Trump had indicated that he would be less willing than some of his predecessors to conduct military operations against other countries.

Tillerson, a former oil executive, might once have looked like the ideal envoy to mend strained ties, having worked closely with the Kremlin while negotiating deals for energy giant ExxonMobil.

"We have information from a variety of sources that such provocations ... are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including in southern suburbs of Damascus", Putin said Tuesday during a news conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

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President Donald Trump declared that US-Russia ties "may be at an all-time low", and Mr Tillerson struck a similar tone after a day of talks in Moscow.

"We discussed our view that Russian Federation as their closest ally in the conflict perhaps has the best means of helping Assad recognise this reality", he said.

The United States is ready to work towards a diplomatic solution to end the six-year war in Syria, Washington's UN envoy Nikki Haley said on Wedneday. However, he added that he believed Moscow and Washington have "great potential" to improve their relationship. -Russian ties from both Trump and Tillerson reflected the former Cold War foes' inability to forge better relations, as Trump until recently has advocated. The FBI is probing whether Trump's staff engaged in criminal collusion with Russian officials to boost Trump's election chances. "The world's two primary nuclear powers can not have this kind of relationship".

The US now assesses that Syria has re-established a unit of personnel associated with chemical weapons that existed before the 2013 agreement in which the Syrian government pledged to give up its weapons inventory. Orrin Hatch, also of Utah, said he had "strong reservations" about authorizing the use of force in Syria.

Putin also said on Russian TV that the level of trust has "deteriorated".

Trump, who last week ordered airstrikes on a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack, was asked Wednesday if Syria could have launched the attack without Russia's knowledge. There isn't any. But there was a violation of global law. "That is an obvious fact", Putin told Mir.

Meanwhile, Tillerson said that he and Lavrov discussed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at length and that he made clear that the Trump administration has come around to the view that the Syrian President can not stay in power. "I think it is wonderful they abstained", he said. "I suggest you look at this vote very carefully and heed this warning", she added.

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