Russia: 'Too Early Yet' to Know Whether Ties with US Will Improve

On Wednesday (Thursday NZT), Secretary of State Rex Tillerson emerged from a almost two-hour meeting with Putin saying the two countries had reached a "low point" in relations.

Dmitry Peskov on Thursday said that the tone of the meeting had been "fairly constructive".

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

"It should be remembered that in response to Syria's readiness to join the Chemical Weapons Convention and to dispose of all of its chemical weapons stockpiles Russian Federation and the United States came out with an initiative to arrange for that process under the OPCW auspices and with full support from the UN Security Council", Lavrov said.

"One side inevitably would have to make big sacrifices inconsistent with some of its policy interests, but Trump and Vladimir Putin are two.assertive personalities who instinctively preserve their powerful images".

The U.S. has blamed the Syrian government for launching the attack that killed more than 80, while Russian Federation has claimed that toxic agents were released from a rebel chemical arsenal hit by Syrian warplanes.

He then informed Jinping that the strikes had been launched, to which the latter said - via an interpreter - that "it's OK to respond with force", when anybody uses chemical weapons against civilians. Additional such actions would entail "grave consequences not only for regional but global security", Lavrov said. "We can not talk about openly any complicity between the Russians and the Syrian regime in this - in this case, but we're carefully assessing any information that would implicate the Russians knew or assisted with the Syrian capability".

Russia's top diplomat said Moscow will not "shield anyone" responsible for the attack.

Russia's hopes for a thaw in Russia-U.S. ties following Trump's election have been shattered by the congressional investigation into alleged ties between Trump's campaign associates and Russian Federation.

Trump said that the not "insisting" on removing Syrian President Assad from power, adding that peace in Syria is not impossible with Assad in power.

Tillerson's trip to Moscow represented the highest-level contact between the United States and Russian Federation since Trump took office in January. Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif emphasized that the participants agreed that unilateral actions by the USA were unacceptable. "Russian Federation now has a lot to prove", U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said. Trump said in a note on Twitter.

Therefore, the only reasonable analysis of Putin's statement is that he is warning Assad and Iran against doing anything that could lead to more United States strikes against the regime which would embarrass Russian Federation, who will in turn not take any action that could lead to a military confrontation with the US.

As the Federal Bureau of Investigation and multiple congressional committees investigate possible collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign, the president and his aides can now point to his hard-line stance on Syrian President Bashar Assad as evidence he's willing to stand up to Putin.

Even Trump himself sounded less convinced of the prospects for improved relations between Washington and the Kremlin.

  • Leroy Wright