Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Donald Trump says US-Russia relationship may be at 'all-time low'

Secretary Tillerson told President Putin peace can not happen in Syria while Assad is still in power.

Trump said, "I would like to think that they didn't know, but certainly they could have". The president's statement reflected that he was drifting away from his campaign promises of establishing better ties with Russian Federation.

But in Washington, the U.S. State Department said Tillerson did not eliminate the possibility the United States may undertake future strikes.

The talks appeared unlikely to bring any significant breakthroughs after last week's missile strike plunged U.S. But he clearly wasn't counting on it.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated that comment after meetings with Russian leaders in Moscow, and said that relations are at a low point with a low level of trust.

In retaliation, the USA bombed the Syrian air base used to launch the chemical weapons attack.

The news comes after Tillerson faced an unusually chilly reception in Moscow. But any such expectations have been dashed amid the war in Syria and ongoing United States investigations into Russia's alleged interference in America's USA presidential election.

The U.S. has blamed the Syrian government for launching a deadly chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun that killed over 80 people on April 4, and responded by striking a Syrian air base.

Jens Stoltenberg, who heads up the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, said that "any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. those accountable must be held responsible".

The Russian government called for an independent UN investigation into the chemical weapon attack, but on Wednesday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning it and specifically calling on the Syrian government to cooperate with a UN investigation mission. He likened the US response in bombing a Syrian air base to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, arguing that now just as then Washington relied on false data about chemical weapons.

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 behavior. But that one would have condemned the US missile strikes ordered by President Donald Trump in response to the chemical attack.

Lavrov told reporters there are issues to be overcome.

Russian president Vladimir Putin earlier said the two nations' relationship had deteriorated.

"This means that they do not want success in the peace process", Muallem said during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "By the time I'm finished, it's going to be a lot better place to live in, because right now it's nasty", he said.

"We know they have the expertise. No one showed us anything, no one said anything, although we repeatedly asked to produce the details on which these unfounded accusations lie".

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