Millennium Post

Putin tells Tillerson why US-Russian ties in bad state

Putin tells Tillerson why   US-Russian ties in bad state
Russian President Vladimir Putin used a meeting with visiting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday to give his views on why US-Russian relations had reached such a low point, a Kremlin spokesman said.

The spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told a conference call with reporters on Thursday that the tone of the meeting had been "fairly constructive." He said the Russian hope was that Putin's message would be passed on to US President Donald Trump.

He said general agreement was reached at the meeting of the need to keep open lines of communication between Moscow and Washington. Peskov also said Putin had given Tillerson his views on the situation in Syria, and how it was likely to develop. The presidents of the United States and Russia on Wednesday both presented souring views of the relationship between their two countries, exchanging sharp words as Moscow extended an icy welcome to the United States' top diplomat in a face-off over Syria. In Washington, President Donald Trump said the United States' relationship with Moscow "may be at an all-time low."

Trump's comments came after he made his biggest foreign policy decision of his new presidency last week, firing missiles at Syria to punish Moscow's ally for its suspected use of poison gas. Russia condemned the US action.

Hours earlier on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin was equally pessimistic, saying in an interview broadcast on Russian television, "The level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved but has rather deteriorated."

The rhetorical salvos came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson received an unusually hostile reception in Moscow, where any hope that the Trump administration would herald less confrontational relations was dashed in the week after the US missile strike on Syria.

Tillerson met Putin in the Kremlin after talking to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, for about three hours. The Kremlin had previously declined to confirm Putin would meet Tillerson, reflecting the renewed tensions.

Trump had frequently called during the 2016 US presidential election campaign for warmer ties with Putin.


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