Trump says US-Russia relations may be at 'all-time low'

Posted April 15, 2017

"I expressed the view that the current state of U.S. -Russia relations is at a low point.", Tillerson said.

The presidents of both countries personally waded into the day's diplomatic efforts in an apparent bid to move past some of the divisions, with Putin meeting with Tillerson for about two hours.

Britain's U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said it was Russia's eighth veto in support of President Bashar Assad's regime and asked: "How could anyone look at the faces of lifeless children" and yet veto this resolution?

Russian Federation also accused the United States of firing 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the base to divert attention from Iraq, where a March airstrike by the USA -led global coalition killed about 150 civilians in Mosul.

Moments after the U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson and Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov ended a news conference in Moscow, Russia vetoed the latest United Nations resolution condemning the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria. Both Washington and Moscow say their main enemy is Islamic State, although they back opposing sides in the wider civil war which has killed more than 400,000 people and spawned the world's worst refugee crisis. Lavrov told the press that there needs to be "an objective investigation".

The Kremlin, which has supported Assad since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, has backed up the Syrian leader, claiming he was not responsible for the attack.

Stopping just short of accusing Russian Federation of complicity with the sarin gas attack against civilians April 4, Trump said it's "certainly possible" that Russian Federation had advance knowledge of the use of chemical weapons by its ally. Tillerson's mission sees the Trump administration taking on the traditional US role as spokesman for a unified Western position.

A British delegation at the world's chemical weapons watchdog said on Thursday that samples taken from the attack site tested positive for the nerve agent sarin.

While neither Tillerson nor Lavrov cited concrete avenues of cooperation, beyond establishing a working group to address what Tillerson called "smaller issues", Lavrov agreed there were many problems.

Tillerson said Wednesday that he did not have "firm information" to indicate any Russian involvement in the attack.

The two did outline some areas of agreement Wednesday. Washington says it has no doubt about Assad's responsibility. Russian Federation says rebels dispersed whatever chemical agent was found, which the Trump administration calls a disinformation campaign. Russian Federation has never publicly acknowledged any such attacks by Assad's forces and has tried for the past 18 months to help him expand his authority in Syria.

The Wall Street Journal cited Trump as saying that Assad's use of chemical weapons again would elicit another military response but he also said he would not intervene in depth in the conflict. "No", Trump said in the interview, which aired Wednesday in the U.S.

"Those steps are under way", he said.

"We owe it to humanity, we owe it to the Syrian people to do everything we can to allow Russian Federation to play a productive role".

The secretary has repeatedly advised Russian Federation to rethink its support for the Syrian leader.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders pledged in 2014 to halt defense spending cuts and move toward a guideline target of 2 percent of gross domestic product within a decade.

"The principle of "innocent until proven guilty" has to be respected", Lavrov said.

"I would like to think that they didn't know, but certainly they could have".