Newly appointed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met for the first time since Donald Trump assumed the presidency in January, discussing a variety of issues at the G20 Summit in Germany. Secretary Tillerson deemed the meeting "productive," according to RT News, as the American and Russian statesmen spoke about the situations in Syria and Ukraine. FM Lavrov told Russia state media that "On all those issues, our American colleagues said they’re interested in joining the efforts that are made to overcome those conflicts." Secretary Tillerson reassured that "The US will consider working with Russia when we can find areas of practical cooperation that will benefit the American people."

Ukraine and Syria

The focal point of discussion between the US and Russian statesmen revolved around the situations in Ukraine and Syria, particularly the annexation of Crimea by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March of 2014 and the now 6-year long civil war in Syria, respectively.

FM Lavrov stated that the US and Russia “confirmed mutual interest, coinciding interests, first of all regarding the outright battle against terrorism and the political settlement in Syria,” along with anywhere in the Middle East or elsewhere “where terrorism took root." On Ukraine, Secretary Tillerson made it known that the US expects Russia to "honor its commitments to the Minsk agreements and work to deescalate the violence in the Ukraine." The outgoing sanctions placed on Russia by former President Obama were not discussed, according to FM Lavrov.

US-Russia relations in the Trump-era

With Republicans already calling for an investigation into former Lt. Michael Flynn's resignation as National Security Adviser (as a result of a new report which alleges that the Trump administration officials were in contact with Russian intelligence before the 2016 election) President Trump will now face further scrutiny over his relationship with Russia after the meeting between Tillerson and Lavrov.

Whatever your politics, all must admit that with President Trump at the helm, a new age in US-Russia relations is afoot.

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