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Russian president Vladimir Putin is meeting with US secretary of state Rex Tillerson, the Kremlin said in the early evening on Wednesday.

The announcement ended several days of speculation whether the sudden tough stance taken by the US on Syria would derail a meeting Russia had looked forward to as an opening to improve relations with Washington wrecked over Russia’s role in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Tillerson held almost four hours of talks with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov including a working lunch, according to US officials.

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