President Donald Trump will meet Wednesday with Vladimir Putin's top diplomat at the White House, officials say, marking the highest level, face-to-face contact with Russian Federation of the American leader's young presidency.
Top on the agenda as Trump meets the Russian diplomat is how the two countries can work together to stabilize Syria, after more than six years of civil war.
In a Senate hearing Monday, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said she bluntly warned Trump's White House in January that Flynn "essentially could be blackmailed" by the Russians because he apparently had lied to his bosses about his contacts with Kislyak.
Meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Washington, Trump raised the possibility of broader cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, Xinhua quoted the White House as saying.
The Russian Foreign Ministry posted a photo of a smiling US President shaking hands with Lavrov on Twitter, adding odd and ironic optics to the questions already swirling around the White House over Comey's firing.
'We had a very, very good meeting with Mr. Lavrov, ' Trump told reporters after the talks.
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Other high-profile victims include hospitals in Britain, the Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, French carmaker Renault, US package delivery company FedEx , Russia's interior ministry and the German rail operator Deutsche Bahn.
Diplomats are working to thaw ties by resolving small issues, which officials told AFP includes day-to-day battles such as United States complaints that its officials posted to Russian Federation are subjected to low level covert harassment.
Trump "emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russian Federation", the White House said.
Tillerson and Lavrov met in Moscow last month, amid tensions over the USA bombing of a Syrian airfield after alleged chemical attacks by Syrian forces on civilians, including many children. Also at issue, Russia, Iran and Turkey signed a deal on "de-escalation zones" - or safe zones for Syria civilians -at talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, last week. "And in the room, here's Trump talking to the Russians and the Russian press is there covering, and guess who's missing from the room?"
In the run-up to the Lavrov meeting on May 9, a bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to Trump in which they "strongly encourage [Trump] to meet with senior leaders from Ukraine, including President Petro Poroshenko, in advance of any official meetings with senior Russian officials including Russian President Vladimir Putin".
Neither Washington, which backs the opposition, nor Moscow, a longtime ally of the Syrian regime, have managed to find a solution to the conflict.
Washington gave the deal a skeptical welcome, rejecting Tehran's proposed role as a guarantor even as it expressed hope the agreement could set the stage for a later settlement.
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