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Russian Federation vetoes United Nations draft resolution on Syria gas attack probe

18 April 2017

"But when I see people using frightful, disgusting chemical weapons-which they agreed not to use under the Obama administration, but they violated it".

The United States, NATO's most powerful member, spends more on defense than all the others combined - 3.61 percent of GDP in 2016, according to NATO estimates.

Russian Federation is set to block a push by Western powers at the United Nations later on Wednesday to bolster support for global inquiries into the April 4 toxic gas attack in Syria.

Leaving traveling US reporters across town, Tillerson met Putin in the Kremlin for nearly two hours following his discussions with Lavrov.

Western countries rushed to blame the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the Khan Shaykhun incident without providing any evidence to support their accusations.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that current U.S. -Russia relations are at a "low point". "I think Syria would be a lot better off right now than it has been". He said the two sides would also discuss disagreements on Syria and how to end the country's six-year civil war.

In the U.S., President Donald Trump sought to tamp down speculation he'll intervene militarily against Assad, who is being backed by Russian forces.

For more on U.S. -Russia relationship and NATO, CGTN's Mike Walter spoke with Ivan Eland, senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on his first trip to Russia as secretary of State, has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as his own counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Hacked files suggest NSA penetrated SWIFT, Middle East banks
In addition to the released files, Shadow Brokers announced an "auction" for the sale of an addition batch of NSA tools. However, SWIFT and EastNets told reporters that there has been no unauthorized access so far on its networks.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said his caucus is anxious Trump's actions in Syria could lead to another open-ended major military fight for US troops in the region and that "any further action should come to Congress" for approval.

"We're not going into Syria", Trump declared to FoxNews.

Mr Lavrov said: "We have talked about the ensuing missile attack by the USA against the air base on April 7th". He added there was no talk Wednesday about a possible Trump-Putin meeting.

The Syrian envoy said Syria invites the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to conduct an investigation into Idlib chemical assault, adding that his country wants to find perpetrators of the attack.

Putin told state-run Mir television that relations between Moscow and Washington have deteriorated in the early months of Trump's presidency.

The fallout over the chemical attack follows comments by the Trump administration and Russian Federation that a reset in relations between the countries was possible after decades of hostility. Tillerson's mission sees the Trump administration taking on the traditional US role as spokesman for a unified Western position.

Also Wednesday, Lavrov said the allegations of Russian meddling in the USA presidential election haven't been proven.

Steeped in geopolitical intrigue, the meeting between Putin and Tillerson wasn't formally confirmed until the last minute, following days of speculation about whether the Russian would refuse to grant the former oil executive an audience.