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Putin and Trump to meet in Hamburg in July

12 Mai 2017

And it may be just a coincidence that the day after firing Comey, the president met in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The uproar over Comey's dismissal complicated Lavrov's intended mission: securing USA support for a Russian plan to create safe zones in war-wracked Syria.

"This may be a good reason for their meeting", Peskov told reporters.

As part of the Russian press pool, he has covered many of Lavrov's official trips around the globe, including in the USA, the photographer said, explaining that a procedure for such events is routine: "The lists of journalists who cover trips are always submitted beforehand".

Relations between the two former Cold War foes soured under former president Barack Obama over Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and its unyielding support for Assad. "We have to start at a very low level". None were apparently reached Wednesday. The Washington Post reported that a Russian photographer from the agency who covers Lavrov full time was responsible for pictures published of the meeting.

"This is the US president's sovereign decision which does not have anything to do with Russian Federation and should not have anything to do with Russian Federation", said Dmitry Peskov, according to the Associated Press.

Yesterday, less than 24 hours after he fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, who was investigating Russian meddling in the presidential election, President Donald Trump held a meeting with Russian government officials and barred any American news outlets from attending.

Earlier on Wednesday, Lavrov met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"Was he fired? You're kidding".

The last place this man should have been was in the Oval Office beside Trump.

Kissinger and Trump chat with reporters yesterday.

The White House barred the news media from the private meeting. However, a camera-wielding member of the Russian delegation "described... as Lavrov's official photographer" was granted access to the Oval Office.

US President Donald Trump has discussed the Syrian civil with Russia's foreign minister in the Oval Office at a time when alleged ties to Moscow are overshadowing the Republican's administration.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman with Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted Thursday: "The format did not imply that the photos were being kept secret".

In a Senate hearing on Monday, former acting attorney general Sally Yates said she warned the White House in January that Mr Flynn "essentially could be blackmailed" by the Russians because he apparently had lied to his bosses about his contacts with Mr Kislyak.

The situation has been heavily criticized, with the former national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden taking to Twitter to question the event.

"The accurate story", he said, was that Trump fired Comey because the FBI director wouldn't support the president's baseless claim that President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower past year and, most of all, because he wouldn't back off on the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump team and the Russians.

Lavrov, who last set foot in Washington in August 2013, dismissed all claims of election meddling as "fabrications" - echoing Trump's claim that they amount to "fake news".

Possible topics for Wednesday's talks included the civil wars in Syria and Ukraine, both of which Russian Federation has played a role in. Critical details need to be finalised, and the USA response has been cautious.

Lavrov says that's especially true regarding a zone in Syria's south, near the border with Jordan and Israel. "I believe that politicians are damaging the political system of the US trying to pretend that someone is controlling America from the outside", he said, according to CBS.

SIEGEL: NPR's State Department correspondent Michele Kelemen was covering the story for us.

Russian Federation has taken the lead in proposing the establishment of safe zones in parts of Syria, as a step toward ending the six-year civil war there.

Donald Trump's administration was left red-faced on Thursday after Moscow surprised it by releasing pictures of a closed-door meeting between the USA president and Russia's top diplomat.

USA intelligence agencies concluded in a January report that Putin had ordered an effort to disrupt the 2016 election that included hacking into Democratic Party emails and leaking them, with the aim of helping Trump. Sanctions on Russian Federation will remain in place until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered them. Nevertheless, Lavrov struck a conciliatory tone and said Russian Federation isn't intending to retaliate.

Trump told NBC's Lester Holt that Comey told him once over dinner and twice in phone calls that he was not personally being investigated. Both are scheduled to travel to Germany for a Group of 20 leaders' meeting.

Putin and Trump to meet in Hamburg in July