Russia vetoes UNSC action condemning Syria chemical weapons attack

Four years ago, when he was Exxon Mobil's chief executive, Tillerson left Moscow with a prestigious medal pinned to his lapel and a hearty handshake from Putin, This time around, there would be no such honors - only promises to work toward better relations, which is likely to prove challenging for a diplomatic novice.

The Russians operate drones in the area routinely so the Pentagon can not be certain the drone operator even knew what was happening, but the drone was a Russian asset.

Only weeks ago, it appeared that Trump, who praised Putin throughout the US election campaign, was poised for a potentially historic rapprochement with Russian Federation. "But we're going to see what happens", Trump told the news conference. Lavrov called the talks open and substantial, and insisted there were no "insurmountable" difficulties between Russian Federation and the U.S. on Syria and the conflict in Ukraine.

Russian Federation for the eighth time used its veto power on the Security Council to defend Assad regime in Syria.

The White House has accused Moscow of trying to cover up Assad's use of chemical weapons after the attack on a rebel-held Syrian town last week killed 87 people last week.

However President Putin showed little inclination to respond to the U.S. initiative, saying he was aware of planned "provocations" to blame Syria's government for using chemical weapons. "We may be at an all-time low in terms of relationship with Russian Federation".

There is no doubt that any attempt to predict developments in the geostrategic sphere that are shaped by the actions and attitudes of the two big nuclear powers is risky and could lead to the wrong conclusions.

".With its veto, Russian Federation said no to accountability". Lavrov said it was tilted to blame Assad.

"We hope that the Russian government concludes that they have aligned themselves with an unreliable partner in Bashar al-Assad".

"It reminds me of the events in 2003 when United States envoys to the Security Council were demonstrating what they said were chemical weapons found in Iraq".

Tensions between Washington and Moscow had increased sharply in the days leading up to the meeting, after a tumultuous week that saw the US conduct a surprise missile strike against the forces of Russian ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in retaliation for what Washington believes was Assad's use of banned chemical weapons against civilians.

Russia's hopes for a thaw in Russia-US ties following Mr Trump's election have been shattered by the congressional investigation into alleged ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

The US leader has backed away from campaign rhetoric that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was obsolete, saying Wednesday that he now viewed it as the "bulwark" for global security. After President Barack Obama's 2012 "red line" warning to Syria about using chemical weapons, Syria launched a chemical attack in August 2013. The apparent souring of relations between Moscow and Washington over the Eastern Mediterranean introduces yet another factor of instability.

Trump's comments came after he ordered 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles to be fired at Syria to punish Moscow's ally for its suspected use of poison gas.

A UN Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian government for the alleged gas attack in the country's Idlib province has been vetoed by Russian Federation as a permanent member of the Security Council.

Beyond Syria, Russia's alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election also hovered over what was the first face-to-face encounter between Putin and any Trump administration Cabinet member.

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