Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met this weekend, both eager to try to make some progress on the ever-worsening bilateral relations. The meetings were civil, but did they accomplish anything?
That’s not clear. New US sanctions over the past week, and retaliatory measures from Russia are looming large, and seem to still be driving the relationship to new lows, irrespective of anything that the face-to-face talks involve.
Lavrov said that Tillerson was mainly interested in details about how Russia’s retaliatory expulsions would work, and that he provided him with such details. Tillerson declined to comment to the media at all, which doesn’t suggest they did anything earth-shattering.
That failure is likely to add to Russia’s view that the Trump Administration is simply powerless to improve relations even when they want to, and that the pervasive anti-Russia sentiment within the US Congress will likely preclude any real rapprochement for the time being.