Russian ties 'at low point' as Syria tensions rise

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

Mr Putin made the statement on Wednesday as Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to Mr Tillerson in a face-off over Syria.

Putin's assessment comes a day after the Trump administration accused Russian Federation of orchestrating a "disinformation campaign" to cover up the chemical attack in Syria's Idlib province.

Trump is increasing pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to abandon Assad just as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is visiting Moscow. "We want to see all the ethnic groups in the country to feel protected, justly represented in all the branches of government".

Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari responded by telling the council that "whoever reads today's resolution carefully would realize that the genuine, true objective is not to uncover the truth, it is to violate Syrian sovereignty, to abuse and use any information that can be collected through the draft resolution". In an interview Tuesday with Fox Business Network, Trump said the U.S.is "not going into Syria" and said last week's missile strike was a direct response to images of dying children he saw after the sarin attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering reopening a vital battlefield communications node between his forces and USA troops in Syria, which had been shuttered since Washington's strike on Syrian forces last week.

Tillerson met Putin in the Kremlin after talking to his Russian opposite number Sergei Lavrov for around three hours.

President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that U.S. -Russia ties "may be at an all-time low", and Tillerson struck a similar tone after a day of talks in Moscow.

The tense back-and-forth over last week's deadly chemical attack in Syria has added to the strain.

Trump's comments come less than a week after he ordered missile strikes on a Syrian airfield after USA evidence indicated that Assad killed civilians using the nerve agent sarin.

More than 80 people were killed in what the USA has described as a nerve gas attack that Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces undoubtedly carried out.

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And then in an entirely undiplomatic swipe at President Trump, who has called Assad "an animal" for killing "babies", Lavrov said, "We need to be governed by common sense, not emotion".

Lavrov also said Russian Federation expects the U.S.to take part in a meeting on Afghanistan this week.

The two sides spoke of the low-level of trust between them and the USA, noting it's an unacceptable state of strain between the world's two biggest nuclear powers.

Minutes before, Lavrov said it was important not to allow a repeat of USA strikes in Syria which were unlawful.

Disagreement over Assad's role in the chemical attack remained an area of tension during the press conference.

Russian Federation vetoed a resolution tabled by the US, Britain and France tabled on the alleged chemical attack in Syria.

Still, Mr Tillerson sought to stress the positives from his meetings.

Lavrov, who was co-hosting the April 12 press conference in Moscow, said progress had been made on Syria and a working group would be established to improve communication between the United States and Russia, Reuters reported.

But such hopes appeared optimistic as the diplomats outlined their sharply diverging views on Syria. On Tuesday, he blasted Russian Federation for not living up to its 2013 commitment to eliminate Assad's chemical weapons stockpile. "And so we are mindful of the seriousness of that particular interference in our elections, and I'm sure that Russian Federation is mindful of it as well", Tillerson said. But in a Fox Business Network interview, the US president said he wouldn't intervene militarily against Assad unless the Syrian leader resorts to using weapons of mass destruction again.

The news conference was dominated by points of contention, chiefly Moscow's deep aversion to USA interventionism and Washington's disgust at the carnage in Syria and Ukraine.

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