WASHINTON: US National Security Adviser Lt Gen H R McMaster appeared hopeful today of a turnaround in ties with Russia as he said the relations will go up from here, but blamed Moscow for the "cycle of violence" in Syria.
"When relations are at the lowest point, there's nowhere to go but up," McMaster told ABC News. His comments came at a time when US President Donald Trump has abandoned his soft line on Russia in recent weeks and said US relations with Russia "may be at an all-time low."
Soon after his coming into office on January 20, Trump, who praised Russian President Vladimir Putin throughout his election campaign, had appeared to go ahead for a potentially historic rapprochement with Russia. But that hope quickly died over the ongoing investigation by the US into alleged Russian meddling into the presidential election in November that brought Trump into White House, and due to the worsening crisis in Syria - an ally of Russia.
"Russia has given support to a murderous regime in Syria, that has perpetuated a civil war and as cycle of violence that, along with obviously the brutal... actions of ISIS, has brought suffering to so many people, has created a crisis within Syria that has bled over into Iraq, has bled over into neighbouring countries and into Europe and so forth," he said.
"So Russia's support for that kind of horrible regime, that is a party to that kind of a conflict, is something that has to be drawn into question," the official said.
Trump last week ordered air strikes on a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack in which more than 80 people died. The US has described the use of chemical agent as a nerve gas attack that Syrian President Bashar al- Assad ordered. Assad denied and Russia said rebels were responsible for the attack.