New Cold War? US and Russian Federation tensions spiking

Iran, North Korea and Russian Federation are indulging in bellicose barking, but at least Obama is no longer empowered to make things worse.

Later Wednesday, Russia blocked the U.N. Security Council's draft resolution condemning Syria and calling for it to comply with an investigation.

The toxic gas attack on April 4 prompted the United States to launch missile strikes on a Syrian air base and widened a rift between the United States and Russian Federation.

Mr Lavrov also noted that many key State Department posts remain vacant since the new administration took office - a point of sensitivity in Washington.

Mr Lavrov said: "We have talked about the ensuing missile attack by the U.S. against the air base on April 7th".

Relations between the USA and Russia are at a "low point" and need to be improved, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday during a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The Syrian government denied possession of chemical weapons, while the Russian Defense Ministry accused Syrian rebels of producing toxic agents in a depot which exploded under a strike by Syrian warplanes and caused the contamination.

Tillerson met Putin in the Kremlin after talking to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, for about three hours.

Mr Tillerson reiterated the US position that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must eventually relinquish power in Syria, a position starkly at odds with Russian Federation.

There are complications beyond that issue, but it's nothing to sneer at and other positives could flow from 59 U.S. Tomahawk missiles striking a Syrian airfield.

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While there was a "low level of trust" between the countries, Mr Tillerson pledged to increase communication between Washington and Moscow. "They want to use it as an umbrella for the terrorists", Assad says.

Tillerson reiterated the USA position that Assad must eventually relinquish power in Syria. The United States' top diplomat is in Moscow meeting with top officials there including President Vladimir Putin.

Russian Federation blocked a Western-led effort at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to condemn last week's deadly gas attack in Syria and push Moscow's ally President Bashar al-Assad to cooperate with worldwide inquiries into the incident.

The U.S. and Russian Federation may not quite be engaged in a new Cold War.

They have said the attack in Idlib province, which killed more than 80 people, was either a rebel provocation or the result of Syrian planes hitting a rebel weapons factory.

The civil war is separate from the USA -led effort against the Islamic State group in the north of the country. And he suggested that possible war crimes charges could be levied against the Syrian leader.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said his administration's policy was not to demand Assad step down as part of a "peaceful resolution to the conflict", in some contrast to Tillerson's remarks in Moscow.

President Trump speaks during a meeting with business leaders in the State Department Library on the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

"I would just say that as a Central Command commander, I'm very confident that we can respond to any directions or orders that the secretary or the president give us in the region", he said.

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