(CBS NEWS) -- When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lands in Moscow this week it will be the first visit of an official from the Trump administration to Russia.
President Donald Trump, who lauded Russian president Vladimir Putin on the campaign trail, was initially viewed as a wholehearted proponent of rejuvenating U.S.-Russia relations.
But the visit looks like it will be anything but cozy. The U.S. carried out a missile strike in Syria last week, which means Tillerson will be flung into a deeply tense environment.
After the chemical attack carried out by the Assad regime, which prompted the U.S. strike, Tillerson charged Russia with being “complicit or simply incompetent.” In 2013, the U.S. and Russia made a deal that Syria would get rid of their chemical weapons stockpile.
Less than four years ago, Tillerson was in the country under wildly different circumstances. As the CEO and Chairman of Exxon-Mobile at the time, he received Russia’s “Order of Friendship” award from Putin.
Now, it seems that in his new diplomatic role, Tillerson stands ready to confront Russia head-on about their inability to condemn the Syrian regime.