Putin says US-Russia ties worse since Trump took office
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a joint news conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella after their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia April 11, 2017 Photograph: (Reuters)
Levels of trust between Moscow and Washington have deteriorated since US President Donald Trump took office, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview broadcast on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
Asked about relations since Trump became president, Putin said, according to a transcript of the interview released by the Kremlin: "One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved, but rather has deteriorated."
Asked about accusations that Syria's government launched a chemical weapons attack in Idlib province, Putin said that Damascus had given up its chemical weapons stocks, Reuters reports.
He said he believed there were two main explanations for the incident in Idlib province: that Syrian government air strikes had hit rebel chemical weapons stocks, releasing poisonous gas, or that the incident was a set-up designed to discredit the Syrian government.
Downplaying Russia-US connection?
Putin's claim that Moscow's relations have worsened since Trump has taken office comes as the FBI is investigating Russian interference in the US election designed to benefit Trump, and whether or not anyone in the Trump campaign actively worked with Russian agents.
It also comes a day after Eric Trump, the US President's son, also distanced Washington from Moscow.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph published yesterday, referring to America's strike last week against a Syrian airbase on April 4, US President Donald Trump's son Eric Trump asserted: "If there was anything that Syria did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie."
Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that last summer the FBI convinced a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probably cause to believe that former Trump adviser Carter Page, who worked with the campaign during the 2016 federal election, was a Russian agent.
Just over two weeks ago it was reported that Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, himself a top White House adviser, met with Russian bank officials officially under Western sanctions.
Days ago it was reported that he failed to disclose dozens of such meetings on US security clearance forms. Failure to make such a disclosure could be a felony.
The Hill reports that Kushners laws claim the omissions were an error, and that top White House aide's notified the FBI the following day with additional information. More, his aides claim he is only using a temporary security clearance now.
Trump's pick for National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had to resign after it came to light that he misled the administration about his concversation with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.
Trump's pick for Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Trump-Russia after it emerged that he also lied under oath about meeting Ambassador Kislyak.