Tillerson: Assad used chemical weapons at least 50 times


Wednesday's vote on the resolution drafted by Britain, France and the United States was 10 in favour, Russian Federation and Bolivia against, and China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia abstaining.

The president was also asked about U.S. -Russia ties amid Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to Moscow.

Despite rolling out a red carpet for the U.S. Secretary of State upon his arrival in Moscow, the Kremlin delivered a frosty reception to Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria.

But his Russian counterpart called for an investigation by the United Nations into the attacks, stating that Russia had "no confirmation" that chemical attacks had taken place, and criticising the "media hysteria" about the matter.

Only weeks ago, it appeared that Mr Trump, who praised Mr Putin throughout the U.S. election campaign, was poised for a potentially historic rapprochement with Russian Federation. "This is contrary to any standards of justice", said Vladimir Safronkov, Russia's deputy envoy to the UN. They are scheduled to hold a joint news conference amid growing indications that Tillerson might meet personally with Putin.

Tillerson's Russian counterpart warned the US diplomat that Moscow believes it is "fundamentally important not to let these actions happen again in the future".

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Putin cited intelligence he said showed the Syrian opposition was preparing new "provocations" with toxic agents to cast blame on the Syrian government.

"We reject any accusations to this effect and would like to remind everyone that Russian Federation has been the only country to demand an unbiased worldwide inquiry into the circumstances of the use of toxic chemicals near Idlib from the very start", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Antipathy has erupted between the two sides over U.S. missile attacks last week on a Syrian air base after the West accused President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons. He offered no proof to back his claims.

More than 80 people were killed in what the USA has described as a nerve gas attack that Syrian president Bashar Assad's forces undoubtedly carried out. Syria's government has denied responsibilty and has claimed the chemicals were stored on the ground by rebels. "The world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this kind of relationship".

Tillerson also raised the possibility that Russian Federation could be sanctioned further if tampering in the US presidential election is proven.

"And of course, that's not to mention that apart from the statements, we observed very recently the extremely worrying actions, when an illegal attack against Syria was undertaken".

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The U.S. issued advance notice to Russian Federation to avoid hitting its personnel before unleashing a volley of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from U.S. warships in the Mediterranean.

"Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person".

"We do think it's important that Assad's departure is done in an orderly way", he continued. "If he doesn't, then we're going to have to think about what our options are - one of them may be bringing a privileged resolution to withdraw USA military forces by a given date from Syria". He said he knows the two powers have "serious differences", but they also have "common interests and responsibilities".

Mr Tillerson said that he was keen to see Mr Assad removed.

Giving Tillerson a chilly reception, Lavrov said Russian Federation was trying to understand the "real intentions" of the Trump administration.

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