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Apr 13, 7:50 AM EDT

Kremlin: No positive shift yet on Russia-US ties


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MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin's meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hasn't produced any positive shift yet in Russia-U.S. relations, the Kremlin said Thursday.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian leader on Wednesday gave Tillerson his view of the causes of the current "deadlock" in bilateral ties. "We hope that the U.S. president will become aware of that analysis," he said Thursday.

President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that U.S.-Russia ties "may be at an all-time low," and Tillerson struck a similar tone after a day of talks in Moscow.

Peskov said in a conference call with reporters that Putin's meeting with Tillerson reflected the "understanding of the need to maintain a dialogue to search for solutions." He added there was no talk Wednesday about a possible Trump-Putin meeting.

Asked if the meeting at the Kremlin marked any positive change, Peskov said: "Too early yet."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Trump's administration has found itself under pressure from those who "want to prevent it from curing the wounds inflicted by Barack Obama's administration and are using the Russian card in internal political struggle."

Russia's hopes for a thaw in Russia-U.S. ties following Trump's election have been shattered by the congressional investigation into alleged ties between Trump's campaign associates and Russia. The tense back-and-forth over last week's deadly chemical attack in Syria has added to the strain.

"It's deplorable, and we regret what is going on, but we can do little except asking to back accusations with facts," Lavrov said. "There hasn't been a single fact, although under the pressure of President Donald Trump's foes the White House has been forced to periodically make statements containing unfounded accusations against us."

Still, Lavrov sought to put a positive spin on the talks with Tillerson, saying they helped improve mutual understanding.

"The results will not come quickly," Lavrov said. "But at least we agreed to establish a dialogue on a number of important issues, including problems created by the previous administration."

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