Tillerson briefed reporters shortly after the U.S. launched cruise missiles against a Syrian air base in retaliation for a gruesome chemical weapons attack. The secretary said Russia has either been complicit or “simply incompetent” in failing to deliver on its end of the agreement.
The agreement was struck after a 2013 chemical weapons attack. President Barack Obama threatened air strikes at the time, but ultimately pulled back on military action.
Tillerson will make the first visit to Russia by a Trump administration official just days after the U.S. launched cruise missiles against an air base in Syria, where Russia’s military is on the ground propping up its ally, President Bashar Assad. Until Thursday, the U.S. had avoided striking Assad’s forces, largely out of concern about being pulled into a military conflict with Russia.
Growing disagreements about Syria are just the latest obstacle to any plans President Donald Trump had to closer align the U.S. and Russia on the world stage. Trump and his associates are embroiled in mushrooming investigations into potential collusion between his presidential campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government, accused by America’s spy agencies of interfering in the election to help elect Trump.
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