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

Trump says US-Russia relations

It was stark evidence that the president is moving ever further from his campaign promises to establish better ties with Moscow.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday that the United States' military policy in Syria had not changed and remains focused on defeating Islamic State. "No", Trump said. But, he added, "I see them using gas...we have to do something". "It may be just the opposite".

Calling for an "objective and unbiased probe" into the chemical attack in Syria, Lavrov said that Russian Federation has no intention to shield anyone responsible for the incident and repeated Russia's view that the Syrian government was not responsible for the attack. "They were there. So we'll find out", Trump said.

The newly hardened view of Moscow comes as the president has tried to shake suspicions about the motives behind his campaign calls for warmer relations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also commented on the tensions between Washington and Moscow on Wednesday. Washington says it has no doubt about Assad's responsibility.

Russian Federation vetoed a Western-backed United Nations resolution Wednesday that would have condemned the reported use of chemical weapons in a town in northern Syria and demanded a speedy investigation into the attack that killed almost 90 people.

After journalists were ushered out of the room, Lavrov's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, wrote on her Facebook page that US journalists traveling with Tillerson had behaved as if they were in a "bazaar" by shouting questions to Lavrov.

Russian Federation has criticized previous investigations carried out by the OPCW and the United Nations which blamed the Syrian government for at least three chemical weapons attacks without visiting the sites.

Tillerson traveled to Moscow with a joint message from Western powers that Russian Federation should withdraw its support for Assad after a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized economies also attended by Middle East allies.

Russian Federation blocked a Western-led effort at the UN Security Council on Wednesday to condemn last week's deadly gas attack in Syria and push Moscow's ally President Bashar al-Assad to cooperate with global inquiries into the incident.

Leaving traveling USA reporters across town, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Putin in the Kremlin for nearly two hours following fraught discussions with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.




"We have not seen a single fact, or even a hint of facts", he said.

"Either they knew that there were chemical weapons and they knew there was going to be chemical weapon use, and they just hid it from the worldwide community, or they are being played for fools by Assad - by him having chemical weapons and they're just in the dark and they don't know anything about it", she said.

Still, Tillerson sought to stress the positives from his meetings. US intelligence agencies have said similar.

Peskov said Putin's meeting with Tillerson reflected the "understanding of the need to maintain a dialogue to search for solutions".

But such hopes appeared optimistic as the diplomats outlined their sharply diverging views on Syria.

When asked whether Russian Federation had prior knowledge about the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons, Trump said it's "possible", but "unlikely" that Russian Federation had known in advance of Syria's plan to launch a chemical weapons attack on its own citizens. And he suggested that possible war crimes charges could be levied against the Syrian leader.

The civil war is separate from the USA -led effort against the Islamic State group in the north of the country. In the beginning of the meeting, Lavrov warned Tillerson that the Kremlin will not tolerate another American attack on Syrian soil.

The Russian government has condemned the missile strikes by the United States on a Syrian airbase last Thursday, calling Washington's move "aggression against a sovereign state in violation of global law". "We consider it of utmost importance to prevent the risks of replay of similar action in the future".

But in a Fox Business Network interview, the USA president said he wouldn't intervene militarily against Assad unless the Syrian leader resorts to using weapons of mass destruction again.

"We're not going into Syria", he said in an interview with the New York Post.

"I felt we had to do something about it".

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