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Putin Says U.S. Ties Have Deteriorated Since Trump Took Office

President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on April 11
President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on April 11

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the level of trust between Russia and the United States has decreased since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

Putin's remarks in a TV interview were posted on the Kremlin website on April 12, around the time U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sat down for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

Asked whether Russian-U.S. ties had worsened since Trump took office in January, Putin said: "One can say that that the level of trust on the working level, particularly on the military level...has not improved but most likely deteriorated."

Putin also stuck by Russia's assertion that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government was not responsible for what the United States says was a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians on April 4.

He said Russia believes the two most credible theories are that toxic gas was released when Syrian government air strikes hit a rebel chemical weapons production facility or that the attack was “simply staged.”

The United States and other countries have dismissed such claims as implausible.

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