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Kremlin outfoxes White House over photos of Trump meeting with Russians

The Trump administration, once again, has egg on its face following a potentially very serious security lapse.

Lavrov also said that Putin and Trump, who haven't yet met in person, will see each other in July.

U.S. intelligence agencies accuse Moscow of meddling to help Mr Trump's chances of victory.

Senior Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said the Oval Office encounter was a photo opportunity for Russian Federation.

All signs are that the talks focused virtually exclusively on Syia, as Lavrov said that the U.S. sanctions against Russian Federation had not been addressed during the meeting.

President Donald Trump urged the Russian foreign minister to "rein in" Syria's Assad regime and its Iranian and Hezbollah allies, a key Israeli demand.

US State Secretary Rex Tillerson met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Wednesday in Washington for more than an hour to discuss a range of issues including Ukraine, Syria, and bilateral concerns.

Lavrov chalked up the controversy to "noise" and to "false news" - invoking Trump's frequent references to the Russian Federation allegations as "fake news".

Trump's meeting with Lavrov came a day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, reportedly in part because he was unhappy with Comey's expanding investigation into alleged ties between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign previous year to win the presidency.

"Was he fired? You're kidding, you're kidding", Lavrov said sarcastically before physically scoffing at reporters. Russia's Foreign Ministry tweeted a photo of Trump shaking hands with Lavrov and the Russian Embassy posted another of the president greeting another participant in the meeting: Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a central character in various Russia-related investigations because of his contacts with several individuals close to Trump.

The last time Lavrov visited the U.S. capital was before Russian Federation annexed Crimea from Ukraine and intervened militarily in Syria to help President Bashar Assad - actions that fueled U.S. -Russia tensions. Lavrov said the meeting mainly focused on ideas of de-escalation zones in Syria. The U.S. isn't party to the deal and has reacted cautiously, especially given its misgivings about Iran's role. "I think things are happening that are really, really, really positive". Israeli leaders have made a priority of raising the issue in their meetings with US officials. The US objects to Russian backing for Assad, and has supported some rebel fighting to oust him.

"What we want to do is we want to see the killing, the awful killing in Syria, stop as soon as possible and everybody's working toward that end", Trump said in his conversation with reporters in the Oval Office. "Huge coup", said former U.S. ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul. Sanctions on Russian Federation will remain in place until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered them.



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