On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian President Vladimir Putin met at the Kremlin along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Following the meeting, Tillerson said that while speaking with Putin, he “expressed the view that the current state of U.S.-Russia relations is at a low point.” The meeting lasted about two hours.
Following the meeting, Secretary Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov delivered opening statements during a joint press conference.
“We frankly discussed the current state of U.S.-Russian relations,” Tillerson said. “I expressed the view that the current state of U.S.-Russia relations is at a low point. There is a low level of trust between our two countries.”
“The world’s two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship,” he continued, adding that they spoke about better communication in the future and possible ways to strengthen the relationship.
According to the Russian state run news agency, TASS, Lavrov said during his meeting with Tillerson earlier on Wednesday that the U.S. issued an “unlawful attack” against Syria.
“Most recently, we saw rather alarming steps, when an unlawful attack against Syria was carried out,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov went on to say that Russia has made its opinion on the matter clear and believes steps should be taken to not allow another strike to happen again.
“Russia’s leadership has already voiced its principal assessments in this respect. We believe it is of principal importance to prevent risks of a repeat of such steps in the future,” he said.
Lavrov also criticized the Trump administration for the mixed messages about its policy concerning Syria.
“I will be frank that we had a lot of questions regarding a lot of very ambiguous as well as contradictory ideas on a whole plethora of bilateral and international agenda coming from Washington,” Lavrov said.
In an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, President Trump said that Russian President Putin is backing “an evil person” in Bashar al-Assad and it’s “very bad for Russia.
“If Russia didn’t go in and back this animal, you wouldn’t have a problem right now,” Trump said.