US Missile Strike on Syria

Russia's told the USA that its recent cruise missile attacks against the Syrian government "play into the hands of extremists".

The powers are at odds over the fate of Moscow's longtime ally President Bashar al-Assad, a rift exacerbated after an alleged Syrian chemical attack last week that triggered a punitive U.S. missile strike.

The United States is disputing that it has agreed with Russian Federation on the need for a United Nations investigation into a chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Lavrov said the USA bombing of the Syrian base was "unlawful". "No one showed us anything, no one said anything, although we repeatedly asked to produce the details on which these unfounded accusations lie".

President Donald Trump's repeated campaign calls for improving relations with Russian Federation had led to speculation that Washington might remove or dilute sanctions imposed against Russian Federation for its interference in Ukraine, including the annexation of Crimea.

"I for one would like to say I do not think that Russian Federation and the United States are so great a distance that it can not be bridged on many issues of the global agenda, both in regard to Syria and Ukraine it's not impossible".

He said working groups would be established to improve US-Russian ties and identify problems.

"You know that negotiations between the foreign minister and the secretary of state are underway, and if it is found reasonable to report the outcome of the negotiations to the president today, we will inform you in due course", the Interfax news agency quoted Peskov as saying.

Giving Tillerson a chilly reception, Lavrov said Russian Federation was trying to understand the "real intentions" of the Trump administration. "No", Trump told Fox Business News in an interview that aired Wednesday.

Until the chemical attack, the Trump administration had sought to step back from the USA position that Assad should leave power.

Russian Federation alleges a Syrian airstrike struck a rebel warehouse containing toxic substances but Western governments, including the United States and the European Union, and Syrian monitoring groups, including the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, accuse forces loyal to Assad of carrying out a chemical attack on a civilian population.

It was an ominous start to Tillerson's visit - the first to Russian Federation by a Trump Cabinet official.

"And frankly, Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person".

Moscow has strenuously objected to Trump's decision to launch 59 U.S. Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base that the U.S. says was used to pummel civilians with nerve gas, resulting in 87 deaths. He says both countries have agreed that their lines of communications must stay open. "Now, we are not saying that we are the ones who are going to effect that change".

Allegations of collusion between Russian officials and Trump campaign associates also have weakened Trump's ability to make concessions to Russia in any agreement, lest he be accused of rewarding bad behaviour.

Tillerson and Lavrov are meeting in Moscow amid rising tensions over Syria.

But Russia made clear it had no intention to acquiesce.

Putin derisively compared the current situation in Syria to the buildup to the war in Iraq in 2003, when USA officials insisted that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction over the objections of global investigators.

"Assad must end his policy of killing through the use of chemical or standard weapons", Çelik added.

In what was effectively an ultimatum, Tillerson on Tuesday said that Moscow must calculate the costs of remaining an ally of Assad, the Iranians and Lebanon's Shiite militia Hezbollah.

"There was another dictator, Saddam Hussein who was hanged after the invasion, we know how this invasion was justified, since then I think Tony Blair was the only one to repent, publically admitting that it had been a fake, all the grounds for the Iraq invasion".

Subtly mocking his guest, Lavrov said their talks were especially important because "not all key positions in the State Department have been filled yet". It's unclear whether Putin will grant Tillerson a meeting. Tillerson has a meeting set later Wednesday in Moscow with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

  • Salvatore Jensen