Russia-US relations at an 'all-time low' following Syria strike

Kristopher Drake
April 14, 2017

The agreement averted USA military action after a sarin attack on a rebel area outside Damascus that killed hundreds of people and was blamed by much of the global community on Assad's government.

As Tillerson sat down for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, a senior Russian official assailed the "primitiveness and loutishness" of USA rhetoric, part of a volley of statements that appeared timed to maximise the awkwardness during the first visit to Moscow by a member of Trump's cabinet. "There is a low level of trust between our countries", Tillerson said in a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, reported The Washington Post.

Syrian President Bashar Assad says a chemical attack in a rebel-held area of the country - which killed dozens of people and was confirmed by eye witnesses - was "fabricated" by the United States.

Assad said Syria's military capacity had not been damaged by U.S. strikes, which hit a base Washington believes was used to launch the sarin attack, but added that the country was preparing for future bombing raids. "We want an honest investigation".

MARGARET WARNER: In turn, President Trump had harsh new words for the Russians and their Syrian ally Assad in an interview that aired on FOX Business Network.

For more on U.S. -Russia relationship and NATO, CGTN's Mike Walter spoke with Ivan Eland, senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute.

"The world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this type of relationship", Mr Tillerson warned.

The men know each other well from Tillerson's days as Exxon Mobil CEO. The Russian president once gave the then-CEO the Kremlin's Order of Friendship award, but the climate has cooled considerably since then.

"The U.S. isn't serious in looking for any kind of a political solution", Assad said.

"Give us the evidence" of Russia's illicit involvement in USA politics, Lavrov said, "and we will respond".

Russia's Safronkov called the USA strikes on a Syrian air base in retaliation for the Khan Sheikhoun a provocation, but Delattre said they were "a legitimate response to a mass crime which could not go unpunished". The FBI is probing whether Trump's staff engaged in criminal collusion with Russian officials to boost Trump's election chances.

But Assad said evidence came only from "a branch of Al-Qaeda", referring to a former jihadist affiliate that is among the groups that control Idlib province, where Khan Sheikhun is located.

"We both have agreed our lines of communication shall always remain open", Tillerson said.

But also, the USA feels right now that it has made the case that Russian support for Assad must end. -Russian air safety agreement over Syria which Moscow suspended after the USA missile strikes.

The United States intelligence community concluded that Syrian forces were behind the chemical attack, using aerial intelligence, local reporting, and samples taken from victims of the attack in its assessment.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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