Prior to Tillerson's arrival, hopes in Moscow had already dimmed that Trump would make good on his pledge to improve ties with Russian Federation, as relations with the Kremlin have become politically toxic on the back of claims that Putin conspired to get Trump elected. Putin said that Russian Federation saw some very troubling actions regarding the attack on Syria and that it was fundamentally important not to let those actions happen again.
US President Donald Trump has ruled out sending American troops to Syria to fight the government of President Bashar al-Assad, insisting that defeating Daesh/ISIL remains Washington's first priority.
It was an ominous start to Tillerson's visit - the first to Russian Federation by a Trump Cabinet official. Tillerson conceded the two world powers had "sharp differences" that have obstructed cooperation but voiced optimism that their talks could narrow those differences.
"We both have agreed our lines of communication shall always remain open", Tillerson said.
Tensions between Moscow and Washington have further aggravated over Syria after the USA missile strike on a Syrian military airfield Thursday, which it claims to be in response to the alledged Syrian government's chemical weapons attack last Tuesday in Khan Sheikhoun. Turkey has said tests showed sarin gas was used.
"We have not seen a single fact, or even a hint of facts", he said. "No", Trump said. But, he added, "I see them using gas ... we have to do something". "I think it's very bad for Russian Federation".
The palpable tension hanging over Tillerson's trip spoke to a widening chasm between the former Cold War foes.
The president also touched upon other issues such as Russian President Vladimir Putin's support of Syria, North Korea and sweeping domestic reforms as promised on the campaign trail.
"We need to attempt to put an end to this steady degradation, which is doing nothing to restore the trust between our two countries or to make progress on the issues of greatest importance to both of us".
"Frankly, Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person", Trump said, referring to Assad. "I think it's very bad for Russian Federation. I think it's very bad for mankind". It is customary for US secretaries of state to see Putin when they arrive in Moscow.
The spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told a conference call with reporters on Thursday that the tone of the meeting had been "fairly constructive".
The Putin meeting with Tillerson began shortly after 6 pm local time, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said. Trump said the attack was in response for an alleged chemical attack that killed over 80 people in Syria last week. The health minister in Turkey, which treated numerous attack's victims and conducted autopsies on others, said Tuesday that test results conducted on victims confirmed sarin gas was used. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov opened by accusing the US of using "primitive and loutish" rhetoric and went on to emphasize that Russian Federation finds it hard to parse the specifics of USA policy.
Reporters asked whether Tillerson had introduced evidence at Wednesday's meetings of Russian interference in the USA election.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his visiting American counterpart Rex Tillerson in Moscow on Wednesday that the U.S. should never repeat the "unlawful attack against Syria".
Still, the Russian leader has made clear he will not abandon Assad. Putin quickly invited the Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers to Moscow on Friday, the day after Tillerson departs. There isn't any. But there was a violation of worldwide law.
The Trump administration's growing willingness to confront Russian Federation directly is serving another goal: defanging the perception of coziness between Trump and Moscow.
Jabbing at USA credibility, the Russian leader reminded reporters about unfounded United States claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, used to justify America's 2003 invasion.
Subtly mocking his guest, Lavrov said their talks were especially important because "not all key positions in the State Department have been filled yet".
Putin discussed the general decline in U.S.