April 12, 2017 / 9:34 AM / 4 months ago

Putin says U.S.-Russia ties worse since Trump took office

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a joint news conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella after their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, April 11, 2017.Sergei Chirikov/Pool

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Levels of trust between Moscow and Washington have deteriorated since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.

Asked about relations since Trump became president, Putin said, according to a transcript of the interview released by the Kremlin: "One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved, but rather has deteriorated."

Asked about accusations that Syria's government launched a chemical weapons attack in Idlib province, Putin said that Damascus had given up its chemical weapons stocks.

He said he believed there were two main explanations for the incident in Idlib province: that Syrian government air strikes had hit rebel chemical weapons stocks, releasing poisonous gas, or that the incident was a set-up designed to discredit the Syrian government.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Alexander Winning

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