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Putin Refuses to Meet With Tillerson After Syria Strike

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, possibly signaling the Kremlin's dissatisfaction with a U.S. missile strike against a Syrian airbase last Thursday. On a Monday conference call, Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Tillerson would not meet with Putin as former Secretary of State John Kerry had often done; and would instead meet only with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "We have not announced any such meetings and right now there is no meeting with Tillerson in the president's diary," Peskov told reporters. Peskov did not cite the airstrikes or any other reason for the lack of a meeting between Putin and Tillerson. Moscow has previously condemned the U.S. strikes and threatened that they might jeopardize U.S.-Russia relations. “With this step Washington has struck a significant blow to Russian-American relations, which were already in a sorry state,” Peskov said Friday. Moscow contends that the strikes were an act of aggression in violation of international law.