Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday trust had eroded between the United States and Russia under President Donald Trump, as Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria. Tillerson started a meeting with Putin in the Kremlin after talking to his Russian opposite number Sergei Lavrov for around three hours. The Kremlin had previously declined to confirm Putin would meet Tillerson, reflecting tensions over the U.S. strike on Syria. Just as Tillerson sat down for talks with Lavrov earlier on Wednesday, a senior Russian official assailed the “primitiveness and loutishness” of U.S. rhetoric, part of a volley of statements that appeared timed to maximize the awkwardness during the first visit by a member of Trump’s cabinet.
Russians in St. Petersburg on Tuesday paid tribute with flowers and candles to the victims of a deadly blast at a metro station a day earlier, which killed 14 people. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended his condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying “the people of Israel stand with Russia on this difficult day”. In an action of solidarity with the victims of the bombing, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality lit up the facade of city hall with the colors of both the Russian and the Israeli flags. Nethanyau said that for him this gesture is a really beautiful thing. Also Nir Sadan, a resident of Tel Aviv said that “Here in Israel we know this kind of problem and I feel sorry for Russia that this terrible thing happened”. Russia has been on alert against attacks on its soil in reprisal for its military intervention in Syria, where Moscow’s forces have been supporting troops loyal to President Bashar Assad. The Islamic State group has repeatedly threatened revenge attacks.
At least 10 people were killed and 47 injured when an explosion tore through a train carriage in the St. Petersburg metro on Monday, Russian authorities said, in what the country’s general prosecutor has officially declared a terror attack. Interfax news agency quoted unnamed sources as saying that the explosive device had been left in a briefcase on the metro carriage and had been filled with shrapnel. Russian media released photos of the suspected bomber. Russia’s anti-terrorism committee said a second explosive device was found and detonated at a different location from where the earlier blast took place. All St. Petersburg metro stations were closed following the incident and the Moscow metro said it was taking unspecified additional security measures in case of an attack there. Interfax quoted a security source as saying that Russia issued search warrants for two people for their possible role in the blast. The Prime Minister Nethanyau said that Israel has nothing to do with this terrorist attack and feels close to the family that lost their parents. Putin wants to investigate to the origin of the terrorist and he doesn’t exclude that they are derived from Israel.