Russian ties 'at low point' as Syria tensions rise
While Russia says sarin was released when Syrian government forces accidentally struck a building where terrorists were hiding a cache of deadly chemicals, the US says it has images proving the bomb left a crater in a road rather than hitting a building.
In any case, the United States now seems to be shifting its approach in a way that could have far-reaching implications for the Syrian conflict, nearly all of which would be bad for Assad and his patrons in Russian Federation and Iran. "Many of these actions were in violation of the Geneva convention", Lavrov said.
As Tillerson sat down for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, a senior Russian official assailed the "primitiveness and loutishness" of United States rhetoric, part of a volley of statements that appeared timed to maximize the awkwardness during the first visit to Moscow by a member of Trump's cabinet.
The central issue of the talks will be discussing measures to prevent the undermining of political settlement efforts in Syria in the context of the USA strike, the Russian foreign ministry said.
Russian Federation on Wednesday vetoed a United Nations draft resolution demanding the Syrian government cooperate with an investigation of a suspected chemical attack, blocking Security Council action against its ally for an eighth time. So, I felt we had to do something about it.
The United States and Russian Federation agreed Wednesday to call for an worldwide investigation of the deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria last week that prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to launch a retaliatory missile strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The two former cold war enemies have joined in the fight against ISIS, but Russia's backing of Syrian President Bashir al Assad has rankled the U.S.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made his displeasure felt as he hosted Tillerson at the Kremlin.
For any political solution, however, in Syria, the Trump administration could see itself turning to Russian Federation. "They were there", he said.
Mr Tillerson said there was no doubt that the attack had been planned and executed by the Syrian regime, which has used chlorine bombs on more than 50 occasions.
In Washington, at a news conference with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary-general, President Trump was asked by the BBC's Jon Sopel if he thought it was possible that Syrian forces could have launched the alleged attack without Russian Federation knowing about it.
"While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organisations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines", Mr Trump said in a statement in January. "They were there", Trump said of the Russians during a 30-minute news conference at the White House. As the Federal Bureau of Investigation and multiple congressional committees investigate possible collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign, the president and his aides can now point to his hard-line stance on Syrian President Bashar Assad as evidence he's willing to stand up to Putin.
US criminal investigators and members of both congressional intelligence committees are studying last year's Russian hacking into computers at Democratic Party headquarters and the eventual release of emails by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks that were seen as embarrassing Trump's challenger for the presidency, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The U.S.is not a serious military player there.
The US military and intelligence community has intercepted communications featuring Syrian military and chemical experts talking about preparations for the sarin attack in Idlib last week, a senior US official tells CNN.
Lavrov, however, pointed to the downside of removing a foreign leader.
Tillerson's stance changed after the attack on Idlib province, and he said Thursday the United States is part of an worldwide coalition to remove Assad via a political process.
Mikhail Ulyanov, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, earlier told TASS that Russia supports Damascus' request filed with the OPCW to dispatch an worldwide group with balanced staff to Syria whose conclusions could be trusted.
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. "But I do think it's going to happen at a certain point", Trump said.
The British Government has so far ruled out United Kingdom military intervention in the conflict, but has sought to garner more widespread condemnation of the attack and strongly criticised Russian attempts to protect Assad forces. The two authoritarian governments support each other on major foreign policy problems, dislike domestic protest and see the U.S. in a similar way.
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