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MOSCOW, April 11. /TASS/. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives on a two-day visit in Moscow on Tuesday. This is his first trip to Russia since his appointment to the position of Secretary of State.
On Tuesday, April 12, he will have talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The visit was initially destined to become one of the first steps towards plucking the Russian-US relations out of the deep crisis left over by the Barack Obama Administration. However the US missile strike on a Syrian Air Force base at Shayrat near Homs, supposedly in response to a chemical attack by Syrian government forces in Idlib governorate, results in the first sharp aggravation of tensions between Moscow and the new team in Washington, DC.
Sergey Lavrov said in a telephone conversation Tillerson on April 8 an attack on a country, the government of which was fighting with terrorism played into the extremists’ hands and posing more threats to regional and global security.
Moscow described the missile strike unambiguously as an act of aggression against a sovereign nation in violation of international law norms. "The American side has thus shown full reluctance to cooperate in any way on Syria or to take account of the interests or concerns of other parties to the Syrian peace settlement process," the Russian President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.
Russian analysts say the strike pursued several objectives, with domestic policy considerations standing at the top of the list. President Trump’s desire to shake off the pressures put on him by the elite and to prove that he is no stranger might have played a crucial role in the decision to pound Shayrat with missiles.
The analysts also said they would not like to think Trump wants "to make America great again" with the aid of "victorious strikes".
"It’s obvious the U.S. prepared for the strike with cruise missiles well in advance," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "For any specialist, it was clear that Washington took a decision on delivering strikes before the events in Idlib, which it simply used as a pretext for a show of force."
In response to the strike, the Russian side suspended a joint memorandum on prevention of incidents in midair.