US-Rus­sia re­la­tions plum­met fur­ther over Syria, Ukraine

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

Al­ready testy, re­la­tions be­tween the United States and Rus­sia plum­meted Mon­day as Wash­ing­ton sus­pended diplo­matic con­tacts with Moscow over failed ef­forts to end the war in Syria and Vladimir Putin put on hold a deal with the U.S. on dis­pos­ing weapons-grade plu­to­nium.

On the sur­face, the sus­pen­sions were un­re­lated. But both un­der­scored deep mis­trust and ris­ing ten­sions be­tween the former Cold War foes, who are in­creas­ingly at odds on a num­ber of is­sues, par­tic­u­larly Syria and Ukraine. In the short term, the end of dis­cus­sions on Syria deals a po­ten­tial death blow to ef­forts to slow the civil war and be­gin ne­go­ti­a­tions on pos­si­ble elec­tions in the coun­try that could mean the ouster of Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad.

Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin sus­pended a deal on plu­to­nium dis­posal hours be­fore the U.S. an­nounce­ment. The two pow­ers will still con­tinue dis­cus­sions on the Iran nu­clear deal, Ukraine and other non-Syria is­sues.

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