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MOSCOW, September 12 (RIA Novosti) – As Russian and US diplomats prepare for a crucial test of trust during a series of meetings on Syria, US opinion polls have indicated that few Americans consider Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin trustworthy, a respected US pollster said Thursday.
“In a May 2012 survey, 60 percent of Americans said the US could not trust Russia very much or at all, while just 33 percent said Russia could be trusted a great deal or a fair amount,” the Pew Research Center said on its website.
Meanwhile, the spring 2012 Global Attitudes Survey, also conducted by Pew, found that slightly more than half of Americans (54 percent) lacked confidence in the Russian president as a fair decision-maker in global affairs.
The hastily organized talks, to take place in Geneva, are meant to discuss Moscow’s plan, proposed Monday, to avert a US attack on Syria by placing Damascus’ chemical weapons under international control.
Russia formulated its plan following US threats to launch a military strike on Syria, in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus on August 21 that Washington blames on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Moscow backs the regime’s claims that the attack was a provocation by rebel forces trying to draw the US into the war.
Washington’s strike plans were apparently put on hold this week after Russia seized on a comment made by US Secretary of State John Kerry in London on Monday, when he said that the only way for Syria to avert an imminent US military strike would be to turn its chemical weapons over to international control.
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Sevastopol became Russia’s main naval base on the Black Sea, a role it was to play for many years. A total of 25,000 servicemen, not including civilian staff, are employed at the Black fleet’s facilities. When the families of these servicemen are taken into account, this figure grows to more than 100,000 people.