Putin speaks on relations with Trump

Tillerson Says Relations With Russia Have Reached a 'Low Point'

Amid rising tensions over Syria, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrapped up a visit to Moscow on Wednesday that included meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin.

The comments came after Mr Tillerson met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and later President Putin, reiterating the USA position that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must eventually relinquish power in Syria.

It was the eighth veto by Russian Federation, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, on a Western-backed Syria resolution and reflected the deep division that has left the UN's most powerful body struggling to tackle the use of banned chemical weapons and to help end the six-year Syrian conflict.

After Tillerson spent three hours talking with Lavrov and nearly two hours at the Kremlin with Putin, conveying Washington's demands that Moscow abandon Syria, the Russian Foreign Minister aired a long list of grievances with the USA, some dating back many years.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said goal of the USA missile attacks on an airfield in Syria last week was aimed at stalling the peace process within the country after six years of the bloody conflict. Before the April 4 chemical weapons attack, both Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that removing Assad from power was not a priority for the U.S.

In the 24 hours before Tillerson landed in Moscow, the White House accused Putin's government of covering up evidence that Assad had been responsible for sarin gas attacks on its own people, launched from a base where Russian troops are operating.

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Secretary Tillerson delivers an opening statement at a joint press availability with #Russia's FM Lavrov in #Moscow. Trump says it's also "very bad for mankind". Speaking on Russian state television, Putin said "the level of trust at the working level, especially at the military level, has not become better but most likely has degraded". "Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person".

On Wednesday, Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution drafted by the United States, Britain and France demanding that the Syrian military provide unfettered access for UN investigators to details of their operations on the day of the alleged attack.

Putin and Trump are yet to meet face to face to discuss the tensions between Russian Federation and the US.

World leaders had called for a probe into the "barbaric" attack in Khan Sheikhoun last week, which caused an global outcry and prompted a retaliatory U.S. missile strike. "It'd be a fantastic thing if we got along with Putin and if we got along with Russian Federation, and that could happen, and it may not happen; it may be just the opposite".

But Lavrov, on Thursday, offered a speck of optimism for the future of the relationship between the two Cold War foes. This team has already found Syrian government forces were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks in 2014 and 2015 and that Islamic State militants used mustard gas.

"Russia can not now possibly claim that it opposes the use of chemical weapons".

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