Trump declares US-Russia relations may be at 'all-time low'

Violet Powell
April 15, 2017

The Apr. 4 gas poisoning in the town of Khan Sheikhoun prompted the U.S.to launch a cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base in response - its first direct assault on the Assad government in the six-year-old conflict.

But Trump did not seem to change in his assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who Trump has spoken of admiringly in the past. Washington said that account was not credible, and rebels have denied it. "I like to think they didn't know". He said working groups would be established to improve U.S.

The US military and intelligence community has intercepted communications featuring Syrian military and chemical experts talking about preparations for the sarin attack in Idlib last week, a senior US official tells CNN.

Government ally Russian Federation on Wednesday vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution demanding Syria cooperate with an worldwide investigation of the attack.

Manitoba Liberal MP Doug Eyolfson wouldn't say whether the topic was debated in Wednesday's caucus meeting, but did say he supported the US decision to strike a Syrian airbase, given Assad's "heinous act". "We're going to see how that all works out", Trump said.

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Trump also warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin, in backing Assad, is supporting someone who is "truly an evil person". Costs to the taxpayer of Trump's trips are unknown, but a conservative watchdog group puts it at $1 million.

But the civil war in Syria has driven a wedge between Moscow and Washington, upending what many in Russian Federation hoped would be a transformation in relations, which reached a post-Cold War low under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama. And he suggested that possible war crimes charges could be levied against the Syrian leader.

At a joint news conference after the talks with Lavrov, Tillerson acknowledged "there is a low level of trust between our two countries", a viewpoint that both Putin and Trump echoed in comments at different times on Wednesday.

"I am confident that the long hours Rex Tillerson and I spent today eye to eye with each other and together with the Russian president, were not in vain", Lavrov said.

The horrific images of children dying from poison gas, which reportedly pushed Trump to take the action he did, are also at play in the support Trudeau appears to have even within the Liberal caucus.

Assad gave the interview to AFP in Damascus on Wednesday. During the election campaign he resolved not to become involved in costly foreign wars such as that in Syria.

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