Monday 11 December 2017

Putin says US-Russia ties are worse since Trump moved into the White House

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik. Via AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik. Via AP

Denis Pinchuk

Levels of trust between Moscow and Washington have deteriorated since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.

Asked about relations since Trump became president, Putin said, according to a transcript of the interview released by the Kremlin: "One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved, but rather has deteriorated."

Asked about accusations that Syria's government launched a chemical weapons attack in Idlib province, Putin said that Damascus had given up its chemical weapons stocks.

He said he believed there were two main explanations for the incident in Idlib province: that Syrian government air strikes had hit rebel chemical weapons stocks, releasing poisonous gas, or that the incident was a set-up designed to discredit the Syrian government.

Meanwhile Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.

"There is a certain possibility," the meeting will take place, Peskov said, if Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who are having talks in Moscow, deem it expedient to brief Putin on their discussions.

Peskov also said Western powers' calls on Russia to stop supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad amount to giving terrorists a free hand.


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