Russian relations 'may be at an all-time low'

Lavrov put forth the Russian position: "With regard to the use of chemicals in the territory controlled by the opposition, on numerous occasions the Syrian government and the Syrian servicemen have given us absolute evidence about the use of chemical weapons".

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

Until the chemical attack, the Trump administration had sought to step back from the USA position that Assad should leave power.

More than 80 people were killed in what the USA has described as a nerve gas attack that Assad's forces undoubtedly carried out. "I hope that these contacts will continue, involving not only us but also our personnel and personnel of other Russian and USA state bodies", Lavrov added.

"Putin is the leader of Russian Federation".

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad warned that he would only allow an "impartial" external investigation of last week's suspected chemical attack, in an exclusive interview with AFP in Damascus. He said working groups would be established to improve U.S. Less than 24 hours later, following a telephone call with Trump, Trudeau said publicly Canada now believed Assad was to blame and backed the air strikes. And he suggested that possible war crimes charges could be levied against the Syrian leader.

As Tillerson sat down for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, a senior Russian official assailed the "primitiveness and loutishness" of USA rhetoric, part of a volley of statements that appeared timed to maximize the awkwardness during the first visit to Moscow by a member of Trump's cabinet.

"Russia is ready for that, ready for dialogue with the U.S.in various spheres, and not only for dialogue but also for joint activities in both countries' interest".

"We have seen very alarming actions recently with an unlawful attack against Syria", Lavrov said, referring to the 59 Tomahawk missiles Trump launched at an air base to punish Assad for using chemical weapons. "And we suspect that they have help", a U.S. military official said on Saturday.

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