US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson -- a one-time recipient of the Russian Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin whose appointment as top US diplomat was seen as a nod to the Trump administration's pro-Russian inclinations – reportedly arrived in Moscow yesterday amid seething tensions over the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Media reports say the trip is the most sensitive to date for Tillerson.  The US secretary of state is reportedly seeking to leverage both international condemnation over the Syrian government's alleged use of sarin gas against civilians and President Donald Trump's recent display of American military might to weaken Russia's support for President Bashar al-Assad.

Several State Department officials told CNN Tillerson's strategy for the trip is to highlight Russia's responsibility and culpability for Assad's actions in an effort to shame Putin into doing more to end the conflict and drive a wedge between Moscow and Damascus.

Meanwhile Russia’s Sputnik news agency reports US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will have a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today in Moscow as part of his first official visit to the Russian capital in this role.

According to the US Department of State, the parties will discuss allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, recent deadly terror attack in St. Petersburg as well as prospects for cooperation on a range of issues.

Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow waited from the United States for coherent clarifications on the whole range of issues of strategic stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic region, and hoped for fruitful negotiations with the US side.

On April 9, Tillerson himself expressed hope to hold constructive talks with Lavrov.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Sputnik he cannot yet confirm whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet Tillerson in Moscow.

“I cannot confirm this yet,” Peskov said when asked to comment on Russian media reports citing sources that Putin would meet Tillerson on Wednesday.

Professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent Richard Sakwa commenting on the meeting told Sputnik that it might be the most important visit “since the Cold War.”

The professor noted that the West had never really understood the dynamics of the Syrian conflict and that any way forward must include Russia.

The parties will also discuss combating Daesh, banned in Russia, and other terrorist groups that have seized Syrian territories, the settlement of the Syrian, Israeli-Palestinian, Yemeni, Libyan and Afghan conflicts, de-escalation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, as well as the situation in Ukraine, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.