Monday, 24 April, 2017

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

CNN uses anonymous source to push Syria  Russia 'chemical attack' conspiracy Mike Blake Reuters
Devin Neal | 17 April, 2017, 05:00

"Right now we're not getting along with Russian Federation at all", Trump flatly declared at a White House press conference on Wednesday, giving stark proof the president is moving ever further from his 2016 campaign promise to establish better ties with Moscow.

The agenda for the meeting wasn't announced.

Moscow and Washington have traded barbs over last week's chemical attack, which killed 89 people, and prompted the USA to carry out its first strike against the Syrian regime in the six-year conflict, taking out aircraft and infrastructure at a Syrian military air base.

Only weeks ago, it appeared that Trump, who praised Putin throughout the USA election campaign, was poised for a potentially historic rapprochement with Russian Federation.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claims the U.S. fabricated last week's chemical weapons attack in Syria - to justify a military strike on one of its airbases.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, center, stands in the middle as Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shake hands after a shared press conference following thei. "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.

This team has already found Syrian government forces were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks in 2014 and 2015 and that Islamic State militants used mustard gas.

It was an ominous start to Tillerson's visit. "The world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this kind of relationship".

But he said Moscow and Washington had agreed to continue co-operating to try to find a political solution for Syria. Turkey has said tests showed sarin gas was used.

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Putin and Trump are yet to meet face to face to discuss the tensions between Russian Federation and the US.

The palpable tension hanging over Tillerson's trip spoke to a widening chasm between the former Cold War foes.

Where relations between the two countries go from this point on is hard to guess.

"Frankly, Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person", Trump said, referring to Assad. "I think it's probably unlikely, and I know they are doing investigations into that right now", said Trump.

He added there was no talk on Wednesday about a possible Trump-Putin meeting.

Two days later, the USA launched a cruise missile strike on a Syrian airfield where the planes that carried out the attack were based. It was the first direct U.S. military action against Assad's forces since the start of Syria's civil war six years ago and led to a quick downward spiral in ties between Washington and Moscow.

Intelligence services from several Western countries dispute that claim.

Assad said he could only support an investigation into the Sheikhoun attacks if it was "impartial" and "when we make sure that unbiased countries will participate in this delegation in order to make sure that they won't use it for politicized purposes".

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