U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Feb. 16 on the sidelines of the G-20 foreign ministers summit in Bonn, The Guardian and the Washington Post reported. Speaking after the meeting, Tillerson said Washington was prepared to work with Moscow on areas of common ground but that Russia must adhere to the Minsk agreements. Also speaking Feb. 16, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the United States and Russia are not in a position to collaborate militarily. Mattis' statement came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested Russian and the United States should improve intelligence ties.
The defense secretary's comments seem to run counter to statements by U.S. President Donald Trump on the campaign trail suggesting the United States could collaborate with Russia against the Islamic State. Concerns about possible ties between the Trump administration and Moscow are growing in Washington, as evidenced by the recent resignation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. But all appearances aside, the Trump administration is not shaping up to be the silver bullet for U.S.-Russia relations that Moscow was likely hoping for.