Russia vetoes UN resolution to condemn Syria chemical attack

Russian President Vladimir Putin used a meeting with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday to give his views on why U.S.

Moscow and Washington are trying to figure each other out during the first visit by a senior member of Donald Trump's administration to Russian Federation. "No", Trump said. But, he added, "I see them using gas ... we have to do something". Putin quickly invited the Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers to Moscow on Friday, the day after Tillerson departs. After a Syrian ceasefire negotiated by then-Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov fell apart in September, there have been no high-level contacts between the two countries until now. "We're not going into Syria", Trump told Fox News. These took place, as we document here, not only in Aleppo and its environs, but in locations like Homs City and Tel Kalakh - with Al Shayrat serving as a launchpad for the attacks. We may be at an all-time low in terms of a relationship with Russian Federation.

Russia's top diplomat said Moscow would not "shield anyone" responsible for the attack.

Russia's Safronkov called the US strikes on a Syrian air base in retaliation for the Khan Sheikhoun a provocation, but Delattre said they were "a legitimate response to a mass crime which could not go unpunished".

In opening remarks, Tillerson said he was looking forward to "an open, candid, frank exchange" with Lavrov.

According to an official Russian interpreter. 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.

Trump, meanwhile, told Fox Business News that the US had no plans to become more deeply involved in Syria and only did so because of last week's deadly chemical weapons attack that killed dozens.

Lavrov also complained about the mixed messages coming out of Washington on the Trump administration's policy on Syria, with the USA envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, making it clear that Assad should have no future in Syria as Tillerson took a softer line. "I would like to say again that we never saw any facts; anything that would look even remotely like facts [to prove this]".

He hit back at remarks Tillerson made a day earlier that Russian Federation would have to decide whether it was with the United States and the West in standing up against Assad, or against them, describing the comments as wrong choices. And to further clarify areas of sharp difference, so we can better understand why these differences exist and what the prospects for narrowing those differences may be.

Russian Federation vetoed on late Wednesday a United Nations resolution demanding the Syrian government cooperate with an investigation of the suspected chemical attack, saying that Moscow had consistently expressed its "categorical disagreement" with the draft resolution, which led to further criticism from the West including the U.S.

The proposed resolution would have condemned the alleged attack and expressed the council's full backing to investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Moscow earlier claimed that the deaths had been caused when a Syrian regime airstrike hit a chemical weapons stockpile held by terrorist groups.

The US position on Syria is still woefully unclear, as Trump has made no comprehensive statement on Syria since last week's missile attack.

Jabbing at U.S. credibility, the Russian leader reminded reporters about unfounded United States claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, used to justify America's 2003 invasion.

Aides later clarified Spicer's comments by adding that the barrel bombs did not directly affect a change in administration policy.

Secretary of Defence General James Mattis spoke earlier in the day at a Pentagon news conference about the Syrian chemical weapons attack last week, which killed 86, and the subsequent USA response. SecDef Mattis said it was clear the "Assad regime planned it, orchestrated it, and executed" the attack.

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