Relations between the U.S. and Russia are "in their worst period since the end of the Cold War," the Kremlin said Tuesday — just as America's top diplomat arrived on a visit.
As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Moscow for a meeting with his counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign ministry spoke of "a long list of irritants created by Washington."
Vladimir Putin went further, comparing America's accusations of a chemical attack in Syria to its justification of the Iraq invasion. "We saw this before," Russia's president told reporters. "It reminds me the events of 2003."
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Tillerson's visit takes place against a backdrop of escalating tensions, and it remained unclear if Trump's top envoy would even meet Putin during the trip.
"It's clear that Russian-American relations are in their worst period since the end of the Cold War," the foreign ministry said. "The previous U.S. administration has done all it could to exacerbate them."