Tillerson, the new top U.S. diplomat, told reporters at a news conference that he'd told Putin: "The current state of U.S. -Russia relations is at a low point. And it was very, very successfully done", the US President said at a joint press conference with visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House. It was stark evidence that the president is moving ever further from his campaign promises to establish better ties with Moscow.
Moscow and Washington are trying to figure each other out during the first visit by a senior member of Donald Trump's administration to Russian Federation.
If Russia or Syria were to use their military assets to fend off any future US strike, it may put Moscow and Washington on the brink of a head-on confrontation, and the Kremlin's decision to cut the crucial communications link between the militaries could make matters worse.
"It would be a fantastic thing if we got along with Putin and if we got along with Russian Federation". But he clearly wasn't counting on it. "It may not happen", Trump said. "It may be just the opposite".
Russia's meddling in last year's U.S. presidential election has been "fairly well-established", Rex Tillerson has said, following talks with his counterpart in Moscow, writes The Independent.
Stopping just short of accusing Russian Federation of complicity with the sarin gas attack against civilians April 4, Trump said it's "certainly possible" that Russian Federation had advance knowledge of the use of chemical weapons by its ally.
The newly hardened view of Moscow comes as the president has tried to shake suspicions about the motives behind his campaign calls for warmer relations.
"Frankly, Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person", Trump aid in the Fox Business Network interview, referring to Assad.
But U.S. officials say there is "no doubt" that the Assad regime was behind the attack, possibly with sarin gas, that killed dozens of people including many children.
Reporters asked whether Tillerson had introduced evidence at Wednesday's meetings of Russian interference in the US election. -Russian relations with the state television channel Mir before his meeting with Tillerson. It is customary for USA secretaries of state to see Putin when they arrive in Moscow. He was referring to widespread vacancies throughout the top State Department leadership that has fueled a perception in the USA that Tillerson and his agency are being sidelined by Trump.
Putin cited intelligence he said showed the Syrian opposition was preparing new "provocations" with toxic agents to cast blame on the Syrian government.
But Trump did not seem to change in his assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who Trump has spoken of admiringly in the past.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blasted US claims that it has "irrefutable evidence" of election interference.
Following the chemical attack, US President Donald Trump ordered the first airstrike against the Syrian regime in its six-year conflict.
Putin seems undeterred. Hours after Tillerson's warning, his office announced Russian Federation would host Syria and Iran's foreign ministers for a three-way meeting on Friday, the day after Tillerson departs.
Putin has now found himself in a trap: Abandoning Assad would amount to recognition that the Kremlin's policy was wrong, while maintaining support for the Syrian ruler could risk destroying any chance for a detente with the US and raise the threat of a military confrontation. -Russian ties and identify problems. But any expectations of an easy rapport have crashed into reality as the two countries trade escalating accusations over what happened last week in rebel-held territory in northern Syria. Tillerson said Syria's government had committed more than 50 attacks using chlorine or other chemical weapons over the duration of the conflict. And he suggested that possible war crimes charges could be levied against the Syrian leader.
It was the eighth time that Russian Federation has used its veto power at the UN Security Council to block action directed at its ally in Damascus.
The civil war is separate from the US -led effort against the Islamic State group in the north of the country.
In a paradoxical response to the strike, Moscow froze the military hotline with the U.S. The Russian move amounted to a stark warning: Don't launch any more strikes or risk unpredictable consequences. "I would like to say again that we never saw any facts; anything that would look even remotely like facts [to prove this]".
The military action, coupled with American officials' change of tone over Assad's future, stirred speculation that the United States and its Western allies were ready to put boots on the ground in Syria.
Trump and others have indeed threatened similar action.
"We're not going into Syria".
Claiming that the United States attack was "an act of humanity", Trump said he reflected a lot on the severity of the strike and came to the conclusion that "this would be the appropriate first shot".