U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Moscow Tuesday, but Russian President Vladimir Putin had given no assurance that he would even meet with Tillerson.
Wednesday, Putin said that “trust had eroded between the United States and Russia under President Donald Trump.”
“One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved but has rather deteriorated,” Putin stated in an interview.
However, Reuters is reporting that Putin is now meeting with Tillerson, according to a U.S. embassy spokeswoman.
UK’s Express news outlet also reported that Putin and Tillerson have indeed held a meeting Wednesday. A U.S. Embassy spokesperson has confirmed that the meeting is still in progress, and has now been ongoing for 55 minutes.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reportedly said Putin finally agreed to the meeting “if it is decided” that he needed to be briefed on the talks between Tillerson and Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister.
Tillerson received an “icey” reception from Lavrov when they sat down for talks Wednesday.
“I won’t hide the fact that we have a lot of questions, taking into account the extremely ambiguous and sometimes contradictory ideas which have been expressed in Washington across the whole spectrum of bilateral and multilateral affairs,” Lavrov said.
“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.”
USA Today further reported:
“It was not the first meeting between the two men. Tillerson, as CEO of Exxon, had a close relationship with the Russian leader forged over business dealings in the past. In 2013, Putin personally awarded Tillerson the Russian Order of Friendship while the two met to negotiate ExxonMobil’s $50 billion deal for Russian oil and gas rights.”
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