Top diplomats from US, Russia meet in Moscow with Syria high on agenda
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Moscow on Wednesday afternoon. Among other issues, the two senior officials were to discuss the situation in Syria, sanctions on Russia, tensions over North Korea, and accusations that Russia intervened in the US presidential election. Tillerson and Lavrov had previously met in February on the sidelines of a conference of G20 foreign ministers in the German city of Bonn. Several minutes before Wednesday's talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin repeated his country's denial that the Syrian military launched a chemical attack against civilians in Idlib province on April 4. He claimed in a local TV interview that one of two things happened: either "the Syrian aircraft hit an underground (rebel) workshop for the production of chemical warfare agents", or the incident was "simply an orchestrated event, that is, a provocation" that was "done on purpose to cause an uproar" and create "a pretext for exerting additional pressure" on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.