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Are US-Russia relations at 'all-time low?' Trump says so

17 April 2017

Not long before Trump spoke in Washington, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson struck a similar tone after an nearly two-hour meeting with Putin, saying the two countries had reached a "low point" in relations.

The chemical attack prompted President Trump to order a missile strike at a Syrian military air base last week.

Washington blames Russia's ally, Syrian president Bashar Assad, while Moscow says Syrian rebels are responsible. The jet dropped sarin on the western Syrian village of Khan Sheikhoun, killing at least 70 civilians. "Things will work out fine between the United States of America and Russian Federation", he tweeted.

Earlier on Wednesday Tillerson had a similar tone after an nearly two-hour meeting with Putin, saying the two countries had reached a "low point" in relations.

With tensions rising over Syria and other issues, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that US relations with Russian Federation "may be at an all-time low" as he moved ever further away from his campaign promises to establish better ties with Moscow. But he also said Russian President Vladimir Putin was open to re-establishing it. During his 2016 campaign, Trump said he would decide whether to honor the commitment to protect the Baltic republics against Russian aggression, based on whether those countries "have fulfilled their obligations to us".

He named two conditions.

Mr. Mattis also emphasised that the strike against the regime does not signal a change in the USA policy of viewing the Islamic State as the primary enemy in Syria. The second condition was the United States conduct no additional strikes on government targets. As you know, Secretary of State Tillerson is in Moscow.

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Russian Federation has slammed Washington's attack on a Syrian airbase and, as Mr Tillerson met Mr Lavrov, Mr Putin admitted that relations between Washington and Moscow have worsened in the three months that Mr Trump has been in office. "I would like to think that they didn't know, but certainly they could have, they were there", he said.

And the USA warned Russian Federation that it is only isolating itself with its continued support of Assad. "But when I see people using disgusting, frightful chemical weapons, which they agreed not to use under the Obama administration, but they violated it", he said, explaining the strike.

Russia Wednesday vetoed a Western-drafted Security Council resolution on an alleged chemical attack in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib.

Trump told Fox Business Network that his strikes were exclusively because Assad used chemical weapons.

Still, Mr Lavrov sought to put a positive spin on the talks with Mr Tillerson, saying they helped improve mutual understanding. "We have said that there need to be a very thorough investigation into this incident, which has become the subject of many speculations", Lavrov said.

Russian Federation and the US on Wednesday agreed to keep on fighting worldwide terrorism and continue discussions on Syrian conflict settlement, despite turbulent bilateral relations and a string of pending disputes between the two countries.

He said: "So Russia faces a choice: it can continue acting as a lifeline for Assad's murderous regime, or it could live up to its responsibilities as a global power, and use its influence over the regime to bring six long years of failed ceasefires and false dawns to an end".

Are US-Russia relations at 'all-time low?' Trump says so