Relations between the United States and Russia are “at a low point,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday during a joint press conference in Moscow with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.
“We frankly discussed the current state of U.S.-Russia relations. I expressed the view that the current state of U.S.-Russia relations is at a low point,” Tillerson said in prepared remarks.
“There is a low level of trust between our two countries. The world’s two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship.”
Tillerson met with Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin for two hours just before the press conference, the diplomats said.
Tillerson said that the discussions centered on the conflict in Syria, North Korea’s aggression, and Russia’s activities in Ukraine.
During a question-and-answer session, Tillerson reiterated the U.S.’s view that Syria’s dictator and a Russian ally, Bashar al-Assad, should be removed from power because of chemical attacks he is believed to have ordered earlier this month.
“We do think it’s important that Assad’s departure is done in an orderly way,” Tillerson said.
He said that the two sides discussed maintaining diplomatic contacts and will form a working group to address smaller issues between the two countries.