Russian Federation relations at 'may be at an all-time low,' Trump says

Trump, in the past, has called Assad "evil" and "an animal".

"We have to see common threats, they are apparent", he said.

Many watching the Trump-Russia storyline online agreed.

Lavrov reiterated the Russian view that the facts about the chemical weapons attack had yet to be determined and denounced what he described as the "media hysteria" surrounding the assault.

Mr Putin, speaking on Mir television, also said trust had "deteriorated" between the United States and Russian Federation under the Trump presidency.

The two leaders were expected to discuss disagreement about whether Syrian President Bashar Assad or his opposition was responsible for a chemical weapons attack last week that led to US retaliatory cruise missiles. "Russia, as their closest ally in the conflict, perhaps has the best means of helping Assad recognize this reality".

Tuesday, the White House declassified a USA intelligence report that accused Putin of a cover-up to "confuse" and "obfuscate" on behalf of Assad.

Tillerson was greeted frostily in the Russian capital as Lavrov began their meeting Wednesday by demanding to know America's "real intentions".

One of Mr Lavrov's deputies was even more scathing.

"The state secretary hasn't threatened to use new sanctions". The Russians held to a tentative schedule that was worked out in advance, USA officials said.

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov had said his country agreed a United Nations investigation into the attack just hours before it vetoed the resolution, which also called for an investigation, on Wednesday.

Ten countries voted in favor of the resolution, two voted against it, and three countries abstained.

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"There is a low level of trust between our two countries", Tillerson said candidly.

Tillerson said last week the Russians were "complicit or simply incompetent".

In another possible setback to a thaw with Moscow, Trump said on Wednesday that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is not obsolete, as he had declared during the election campaign past year.

Trump's comment came during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after he was asked for his "instinct" about whether it was possible Syria's government could have initiated the attack without Russia's knowledge. But he said it was an open question where relations go from here. Indeed, Trump said they may be "at an all-time low". But he is not as upbeat about prospects for the kind of relations he promised as a candidate, leaving his assessment at: "We're going to see". He said Assad's government was responsible.

"Are we insisting on it? No".

Earlier, Lavrov said that failing to institute an worldwide inquiry into the chemical attack in Syria's Idlib would mean that the global community is not interested in establishing the truth about the matter.

Damascus and Moscow claim the toxic gas that killed dozens of civilians in a rebel-held Syrian town on April 4 was released when government bombs struck a rebel-controlled chemical weapons depot - an assertion that Western governments reject.

He said the U.S. attack on the Syrian air base "was carried out in violation of global norms".

Lavrov also warned Tillerson that Trump can not act in similar military fashion again in the future if he wishes to enhance diplomatic relations between Washington and Moscow, which deteriorated substantially during Barack Obama's presidency.

Moscow has stood by Assad, saying the poison gas belonged to rebels, an explanation Washington dismisses as beyond credible.

Mr Trump came to the presidency promising to seek closer ties with Russian Federation and greater cooperation fighting against their common enemy in Syria, Islamic State, and Mr Tillerson is a former oil executive who was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship by Mr Putin.

Years of Russian Federation and its allies, Iran and Syria, operating with virtual impunity have come to a crashing halt - because the Trump administration refuses to sit meekly by. Moscow has distanced itself from domestic United States tensions, neither supporting nor criticising Trump officially. The FBI is investigating whether any Trump campaign figures colluded with Moscow, which the White House denies.

  • Sonia Alvarado