Tillerson to go to Russia but will skip NATO meeting – News – providencejournal.com – Rhode Island News

Tillerson to go to Russia but will skip NATO meeting – News – providencejournal.com – Rhode Island News

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to Moscow, right after he flies to Italy for a meeting of ministers from the Group of Seven countries, comes at a time when the Kremlin’s alleged cyberattacks during the presidential campaign and its meetings with several Trump campaign officials is being scrutinized by the FBI and Congress.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Russia next month, a week after a NATO summit meeting he is skipping, State Department officials said Monday.

Tillerson’s trip to Moscow, right after he flies to Italy for a meeting of ministers from the Group of Seven countries, comes at a time when the Kremlin’s alleged cyberattacks during the presidential campaign and its meetings with several Trump campaign officials is being scrutinized by the FBI and Congress.

The White House appears to be trying to tackle the controversy head-on by dispatching Tillerson, who conducted oil negotiations with Russia when he headed ExxonMobil and was awarded a presidential medal of friendship by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Often, U.S. and Russian diplomats meet in a third country, so they don’t convey the impression either is catering to the other.

Tillerson has been notably absent from several meetings with foreign leaders, causing some critics to question whether he has much influence over foreign policy in the Trump administration. His visit to Moscow, which was first reported by Reuters, could help dispel that impression.

State Department officials would not confirm that the reason Tillerson will skip the meeting of NATO foreign…

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