Trump declares US-Russia relations may be at 'all-time low'


We should also note that in contrast to his British counterpart Boris Johnson, who canceled his visit to Moscow, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not only held talks with Russia's Sergei Lavrov, but also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

He had said it was "obsolete because it was designed many, many years ago". Standing side-by-side with Nato's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House, Trump said: "It would be wonderful. if North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and our country could get along with Russian Federation". He added there was no talk Wednesday about a possible Trump-Putin meeting.

But even if there is a definitive finding of Russian complicity, it's not clear the Pentagon or the White House would make that information public, a senior U.S. official said.

In an exclusive interview with AFP in Damascus - his first since the alleged April 4 attack prompted a United States air strike on Syrian forces - Assad said his army had given up all its chemical weapons and that Syrian military power was not affected by the USA strike.

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.

Putin accused Assad's opponents of planning to stage chemical attacks to be blamed on Damascus in order to lure the United States deeper into the conflict.

But since Trump came to office in January, relations have chilled, and the fallout from the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria has thrown them into crisis.

Relations between the United States and Russian Federation appear to have reached depths not seen since the end of the Cold War.

"The world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this type of relationship", Mr Tillerson warned. "We are quite confident about that", Tillerson said.

In his first interview since the deadly gas poisoning in Idlib, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said accusations of a chemical weapons attack were "100 percent fabrication" used to justify American air strikes. Lavrov said it was tilted to blame Assad. "This time, however, he added: "(Russia) perhaps has the best means of helping Assad recognize this reality...

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. "But I do think it's going to happen at a certain point", Trump said. But soon after, Russian Federation vetoed a resolution in the United Nations Security Council calling for an inquiry.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said his administration's policy was not to demand Assad step down as part of a "peaceful resolution to the conflict", in some contrast to Tillerson's remarks in Moscow.

The Syrian government was "highly likely" to have been behind last week's chemical weapons attack, Prime Minister Theresa May has said. The apparent souring of relations between Moscow and Washington over the Eastern Mediterranean introduces yet another factor of instability.

Assad said Syria would only allow an "impartial" investigation into the poison gas incident.

Steeped in geopolitical intrigue, the meeting between Putin and Tillerson wasn't formally confirmed until the last minute, following days of speculation about whether the Russian would refuse to grant the former oil executive an audience.

Beyond Syria, Russia's alleged meddling in the United States presidential election also hovered over what was the first face-to-face encounter between Putin and any Trump administration Cabinet member.



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