Tillerson: U.S.-Russia relations are 'at a low point'

With tensions rising over Syria and other issues, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that U.S. 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. "It may be just the opposite".

Syria denied any use of chemical weapons and Russian Federation backed its claim.

Safronkov called the USA strikes on a Syrian airbase in retaliation for the Khan Sheikhoun attack a "violation of worldwide norms", but Delattre said they were "a legitimate response to a mass crime which could not go unpunished".

"We have seen very alarming actions recently with an unlawful attack against Syria", Lavrov said, referring to the 59 Tomahawk missiles Trump launched at a Syrian air base to punish Assad for using chemical weapons.

The suspected chemical attack killed at least 87 people, including many children, and images of the dead and of suffering victims provoked global outrage.

"There was no order to make any attack, we don't have any chemical weapons, we gave up our arsenal a few years ago", Assad said.

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Mr Tillerson met Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov for talks on Wednesday, during which Mr Lavrov reportedly said Russia was willing to reinstate an air safety agreement put on hold last week aimed at preventing accidents between USA and Russian jets in the skies above Syria.

The United States and Russian Federation on Wednesday both presented souring views of the relationship between their two countries, exchanging sharp words as Moscow extended an icy welcome to the United States' top diplomat in a face-off over Syria.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was "dismayed" by Russian Federation vetoing Wednesday a United Nations draft resolution on the suspected chemical attack in Syria.

Lavrov had begun the day with the more combative tone, but at the pair's joint news conference it was he who stressed the areas where closer cooperation remains possible.

Speaking at a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the capital Moscow, Tillerson said Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria has used chemical weapons more than 50 times.

Relations between the Cold War adversaries have become even more volatile following a US strike against a Syrian airfield last week that officials believe launched a chemical attack that killed more than 80 civilians in northwest Syria. "They were there. So we'll find out", he said.

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Damascus denied any involvement in the Idlib incident, while the Syrian army said it does not possess chemical weapons.

The civil war is separate from the US-led effort against the Islamic State group in the north of the country.

Syria and Russian Federation have suggested a conventional airstrike by the Syrian army may have hit a depot storing chemical weapons possessed by extremists. "We consider it of utmost importance to prevent the risks of replay of similar action in the future".

Trump said during an interview on Fox Business Network this week that "Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person" in his relationship with Assad.

"It's very important that there is a full investigation so that everybody knows, everybody knows, so that the entire world knows how these frightful chemical attacks occurred and where they come from", said Delattre.

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