Putin: US-Russia Ties Worse Under Trump

 Russian President Vladimir Putin has said relations with the US have worsened since President Donald Trump took office in January.

He told Russian TV that trust between the two countries had particularly deteriorated “on the military level”.

The remarks were released as Russia’s foreign minister met his US counterpart in Moscow, amid rising tension over a suspected chemical attack in Syria.

The US has been urging Russia to end its support for the Syrian government.

But Russia has denounced US air strikes on a Syrian airbase, launched last week in response to the government’s attack on a rebel area in Idlib province.

Asked by Mir television about accusations that the forces of President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons, Mr Putin reaffirmed that Syria had given up its chemical stockpile.

Speaking about relations between Moscow and Washington, he added: “One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved, but rather has deteriorated.”

The statement came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was holding talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Ahead of the meeting in Moscow, Mr Lavrov said Russia had “a lot of questions regarding very ambiguous and contradictory ideas (…) coming from Washington”.

The US air strikes have led to confusion over US policy in Syria, with some officials suggesting a more aggressive stance against President Assad.

On Tuesday President Donald Trump said the priority remained defeating the Islamic jihadist group and that the US was “not going into” Syria’s civil war.

Mr Tillerson said he looked forward to a “candid” exchange so that the two countries could better define and narrow their differences.


News Agencies