The US Secretary of State was seeking to push Moscow to end its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Kremlin on the other hand demanded an explation of the “contradictory” US policy regarding the conflict.
The Kremlin’s top diplomat said that it was difficult to understand the “real intentions” of President Donald Trump, who praised Russia during his election campaign but has behaved coldly towards Moscow in recent weeks.
Trump then called Assad “an animal” and called for his ouster. He also accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “backing an evil person.”
Tillerson urges Russia to end Assad support
Lavrov: US strike unlawful
“We have seen very alarming actions recently with an unlawful attack against Syria,” Lavrov said. “We consider it of utmost importance to prevent the risks of replay of similar action in the future.”
After the talks, the Secretary of State said the pair had a “very open, candid and frank exchange” that served to “clarify areas of common objectives,” but admitted that differences remained.
Putin: US-Russian relations worse than before
Putin also commented on Tillerson’s visit, saying he thought relations between Moscow and Washington had deteriorated during the Trump administration, contrary to expectations.
“It can be said that the level of trust at the working level, especially at the military level, has not become better but most likely has degraded,” Putin told state media.
Russia has supported President Assad’s claim that the gas attack was the result of Islamist rebels stockpiling the nerve agent Sarin, and that it was released when government troops attacked one of their warehouses. Putin added on Wednesday that Assad had made good on his promise to dispose of all his chemical weapons “so far as we know.”
When asked if he might meet with Tillerson personally before he leaves Moscow, Putin said it was “definitely a possibility.”
es/rt (AP, Reuters)
Russia Says attack on Damascus planned and orchestrated by opposition rebels involving chemical weapons would be blamed on Syria’s Bashar al-Assad — Sceptics call Putin’s claims more of Russia’s disinformation campaign
Tags: Assad, Bashar Assad, chemical weapons, Hezbollah, Iran, Nikki Haley, Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person, Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sergey Lavrov, Syria, Trump administration, U.S., US envoy to the United Nations, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson