Russian President Vladimir Putin said the levels of trust between Moscow and Washington have deteriorated since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.
Asked about relations since Trump became president, according to a transcript of the interview released by the Kremlin on Wednesday: Putin said, “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.
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.
Trump’s administration accused Russia of trying to shield Syria’s government from blame for a deadly gas attack.
Trump, who has faced criticism for lacking a broader strategy to deal with the Syria crisis, insisted he has no plans to “go into” the war-torn country.
Senior White House officials, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said Assad’s government carried out the April 4 sarin nerve gas attack on civilians in Syria’s Idlib provinc. Eighty-seven people, including many children were killed in the attack.
Russia has defended the Syrian leader against U.S. allegations that his forces carried out the attack, saying there was no evidence.
Russia has blamed Syrian rebels.