Useless to give us ultimatums: Russia

Indo Asian News Service

Moscow, April 12 (IANS) Russia on Wednesday said it was useless to give it an ultimatum, as the US' top diplomat urged it to stop supporting the Syrian regime, a media report said.

"It seems to me that everyone has already understood that it is useless to travel to us with ultimatums, it is simply counterproductive," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who arrived in Moscow after a G7 meeting in Rome, was set to meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday for talks expected to focus on the situation in Syria, Efe news agency reported.

It was uncertain whether Tillerson would be meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin as it was not part of the agenda but the Kremlin had not ruled out the possibility.

Tillerson's Moscow visit made him the first senior American official to visit Russia since US President Donald Trump came to power.

In a statement published on the Department of State's website, Tillerson suggested Russia choose between supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and an alliance with the West.

"Is that a long-term alliance that serves Russia's interest, or would Russia prefer to realign with the US, with other Western countries and Middle East countries who are seeking to resolve the Syrian crisis," Tillerson said ahead of his trip to Moscow.

Since a chemical attack on April 4 in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, the US has accused Russia of being morally responsible for the deaths of 89 Syrian civilians.

The US last week launched air strikes on a regime air base in response to the attack.