"We have seen very alarming actions recently with an unlawful attack against Syria", Lavrov said, referring to the 59 Tomahawk missiles Trump launched at an air base to punish Assad for using chemical weapons.
Lavrov, speaking in his opening remarks in the meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson being held Thursday in Moscow, additionally said that recent foreign policy statements by the United States have been "confusing and sometimes openly contradictory". The chief dispute concerned the Syrian government or opposition's culpability for a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 80 people in Syria last week, though broader disagreements over everything from Ukraine to Russia's support for once-fringe candidates in European elections are among other sore points between the former Cold War foes.
Putin's decision to host Tillerson signaled Moscow's intent to maintain communication with the USA even as the countries bash each other publicly in louder and louder tones.
"With its veto, Russia said "no" to accountability, Russia said "no" to cooperation with the United Nations" independent investigation, and Russia said "no' to a resolution that would have helped promote peace in Syria", U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council. Russia's alleged meddling in the USA presidential election also hovered over the first face-to-face encounter between Putin and a Trump administration Cabinet member. He added that Russian Federation hoped to clarify the possibility of dialogue with the U.S.
During his visit - the first to Moscow by a senior Trump administration official - Tillerson was expected to challenge Russian Federation to distance itself from Assad and his Iranian backers, an idea that the Kremlin dismissed as "absurd". Giving Tillerson a chilly reception, Lavrov said Russian Federation was trying to understand the "real intentions" of the Trump administration. He said there was no discussion of withdrawing them. The latter, nevertheless, gained a renewed worldwide attention due to the USA strike.
The dim view of U.S.
But he said Wednesday the USA doesn't have "firm information" to show that Russian forces were involved in the gas attack.
Tillerson also raised the possibility that Russian Federation could be sanctioned further if tampering in the US presidential election is proven.
"We did discuss at length the future role for Assad, whether it be in a future political process or not", Tillerson said.
"We have not seen a single fact, or even a hint of facts", he said.
Putin and Rouhani Condemn US Airstrikes in Syria in Phone Call
Haley also noted that the United States' first priority is still to defeat ISIS, but that there can be "multiple priorities".
There had been speculation that Putin might snub Tillerson during the secretary of state's Moscow trip.
"A successful ouster of a dictator is for me very hard to remember", Lavrov said. But any such expectations have crashed into reality amid the nasty back-and-forth over Syria and ongoing US investigations into Russia's alleged interference in America's USA presidential election.
Russian Federation has instead argued that the Syrian air force carried out a conventional attack that hit a chemical weapons cache controlled by the rebels.
"One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved but has rather deteriorated", Putin said in an interview broadcast on Russian television.
Lavrov also said that many key US State Department posts remain vacant since the new administration took office - a point of sensitivity in Washington. What we are not certain of yet is what kind of overall game plan Trump will eventually approve regarding Syria.
The U.N. Security Council has scheduled a vote Wednesday afternoon on a Western-drafted resolution that would condemn the reported use of chemical weapons in northern Syria and demand that all parties provide speedy access for investigators. As the Federal Bureau of Investigation and multiple congressional committees investigate possible collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign, the president and his aides can now point to his hard-line stance on Syrian President Bashar Assad as evidence he's willing to stand up to Putin. "No", Trump said. But, he added, "I see them using gas. we have to do something".
"Are we going to get involved with Syria?"
He said: "So Russia faces a choice: it can continue acting as a lifeline for Assad's murderous regime, or it could live up to its responsibilities as a global power, and use its influence over the regime to bring six long years of failed ceasefires and false dawns to an end".
Of Assad, Trump added: "This is an animal".