Trump says US-Russia relations may be at "all-time low"

People gather at the site of an alleged airstrike in the northern Syrian city of Idlib

People gather at the site of an alleged airstrike in the northern Syrian city of Idlib

It was a grim assessment that echoed the words of Trump's top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who left an nearly two-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow declaring the countries had reached a "low point" in relations.

Lavrov spoke Wednesday after several hours of talks with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that focused on tensions over Syria sparked by a chemical attack that killed more than 80.

"We may be at an all-time low in terms of relationship with Russia", Trump said.

President Vladimir Putin received Lavrov and Tillerson at the Kremlin Palace, spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters later.

Beyond Syria, Russia's alleged meddling in the US presidential election also hovered over what was the first face-to-face encounter between Putin and any Trump administration Cabinet member.

Lucian reports that Lavrov went into talks with Tillerson early Wednesday "warning that the USA not repeat strikes against Syrian government forces". -Russian ties and identify problems.

Ja'afari, the Syrian representative, repeated many arguments in his country's defense that he has stated over the six years of civil war.

But such hopes appeared optimistic as the diplomats outlined their sharply diverging views on Syria.

He also rejected American claims of certain evidence that Assad ordered the chemical attack.

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Tillerson said, "The reign of the Assad family is coming to an end".

"Notwithstanding their use in more than 50 occasions of chlorine bombs, cluster bombs and other types of weapons that are meant to main and kill in the most horrific ways".

The stark language is the most blunt terms Trump has used to describe the Syrian president who is accused of war crimes in an attempt to hold onto power during a prolonged civil war.

But amid the recent mutual recriminations over Syria, Tillerson demanded that Russian Federation end its support of the Syrian regime following the April 4 chemical weapons attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun.

Lavrov blasted US claims that it has "irrefutable evidence" of election interference. -Russian dispute concerned culpability for the chemical weapons, broader disagreements over everything from Ukraine to Russia's support for once-fringe candidates in European elections were among other sore points.

It was not clear until the last minute whether Putin would grant Tillerson an audience, but the fact that he did is likely to be seen as a sign that Moscow has not given up on the new USA administration and wants to try to improve ties which both sides agree are languishing at a post Cold War low. The diplomats know each other well from Tillerson's days as Exxon Mobil CEO. Putin had even granted Tillerson with a friendship honor.

Still, Tillerson sought to stress the positives from his meetings. "We believe it fundamentally important not to let these actions happen again in the future".

Reactions to Trump's decision to retaliate have varied from supportive to condemning.

The US has accused Moscow of trying to cover up Assad's use of chemical weapons on April 4.

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Officials are hoping that this can be leveraged to bring a new diplomatic push to end the 6-year-old civil war in Syria. The defence secretary said Moscow must be part of the solution to ending the "needless suffering" of Syrian civilians.

"And of course, that's not to mention that apart from the statements, we observed very recently the extremely worrying actions, when an illegal attack against Syria was undertaken".

Mr Johnson said: "The global community sought to make clear that any use of chemical weapons by anyone anywhere is unacceptable and that those responsible will face consequences".

Trump had frequently called during the 2016 United States presidential election campaign for warmer ties with Putin, despite criticism from lawmakers in his own Republican Party.

President Donald Trump says the "not getting along with Russian Federation at all" and relations between the two global powers are at an "all-time low".

"Frankly, Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person", Trump aid in the Fox Business Network interview, referring to Assad. He tells Fox Business Network that Putin's support for Assad is "very bad for Russian Federation". "I think it's very bad for mankind".

Trump says Syrian President Bashar Assad is "an animal".

Lavrov also warned Tillerson that Trump can not act in similar military fashion again in the future if he wishes to enhance diplomatic relations between Washington and Moscow, which deteriorated substantially during Barack Obama's presidency.

Hours earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin was equally pessimistic, saying in an interview on Russian television: "The level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved but has rather deteriorated".

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