US envoy Tillerson meets with Putin in Moscow

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"We have seen very alarming actions recently with an unlawful attack against Syria", Lavrov said, referring to the cruise missiles President Donald Trump ordered to punish Assad for using chemical weapons.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he had a "productive" and frank two-hour meeting on Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.

The Tillerson-Lavrov meeting was seen as even more important, as the United States and Russian Federation have been feuding of late about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad' s use of chemical weapons, and the USA bombing it provoked.

Putin's decision to host Tillerson signaled Moscow's intent to maintain communication with the US even as the countries bash each other publicly in louder and louder tones.

With tensions rising over Syria and other issues, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that US relations with Russian Federation "may be at an all-time low" as he moved ever further away from his campaign promises to establish better ties with Moscow.

Tillerson was not initially expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his Moscow trip, but Putin chose to meet with Tillerson on Wednesday morning.

Lavrov was especially critical of recent statements by Tillerson, who said that Russian Federation has to choose to between the U.S. or Syria, and that to date Russian Federation has failed to uphold the agreements that had been entered into under multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

But Russia, an ally of Syria, blocked a draft UN Security Council resolution which would require President Assad to provide information about air operations and grant inspectors immediate access to air bases.

After the session, the Syrian ambassador was asked by CNN to comment on President Donald Trump's remarks in an interview that Assad was "an animal".

As Tillerson sat down for talks with Lavrov on Wednesday, a volley of statements, including from a senior Russian official, appeared timed to maximise the awkwardness during the first visit to Moscow by a member of Trump's cabinet.

"We both have agreed our lines of communication shall always remain open", Tillerson said.

The news conference came after Russian President Vladimir Putin met the top American diplomat for nearly two hours to see if they could rescue relations between the world's mightiest military powers. They weren't authorized to discuss diplomatic conversations publicly and requested anonymity.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says the allegations of Moscow's meddling in the US presidential election haven't been proven.

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Speaking of the missile strikes he authorized against the base the carried out the chemical attack, Trump later added: "I have absolutely no doubt we did the right thing".

Russia's deputy United Nations ambassador says the USA "provocation" by attacking a Syrian air base will only encourage those who want a military solution to the six-year Syrian conflict.

As the Federal Bureau of Investigation and multiple congressional committees investigate potential collusion between Russia and Trump's campaign in last year's US election, Trump can point to his hard-line stance as fresh evidence that he's far from beholden to the Russian leader.

It was wrong to blame Assad without knowing the facts, he said.

"That's a decision for the Kremlin to make and to announce, and up till now, we've not seen such an offer extended", said State Department acting spokesperson Mark Toner on Tuesday.

He said: "This afternoon in NY, 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". Still, the decision to launch missile strikes in response to use of chemicals heralded the end of USA inaction in Syria and reminded all players that the still in the game. "But we're going to see what happens", Trump told the news conference.

Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, there has been conclusive evidence that chemical weapons have been used against civilians at different times and locations. Putin said that either gas belonging to the rebels was released when it was hit by a Syrian strike on a rebel arms dump, or the rebels faked the incident to discredit Assad.

"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 said in an interview broadcast Wednesday by state television channel Mir.

Mr Johnson said it was "highly likely" the Syrian regime was responsible for the toxic gas attack and called on Russian Federation to stop acting "as a lifeline for Assad's murderous regime".

Russian Federation vetoed a United Nations resolution Wednesday that would have required Syria to cooperate with investigators and face full accountability after a brutal chemical attack in that country.

He said: "So Russia faces a choice: it can continue acting as a lifeline for Assad's murderous regime, or it could live up to its responsibilities as a global power, and use its influence over the regime to bring six long years of failed ceasefires and false dawns to an end".