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Russian diplomat rips into US calls for new sanctions as ‘Pavlov dog’ reflex

October 17, 2016, 15:43 UTC+3

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov pointed out that Washington’s threats against Russia showed the Obama administration's weakness

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White House in Washington

White House in Washington

© AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

MOSCOW, October 17. /TASS/. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on Monday railed against Washington’s new calls for slapping further sanctions on Moscow, saying that they can be compared to the conditional reflexes in the animal world studied by the renowned Russian scientist, Ivan Pavlov.

"Everything is happening in this reflex regime so far," the deputy foreign minister told journalists.

"This resembles Pavlov’s dog: the bell rings and the secretion of the gastric justice begins to churn. If a monkey is kept in a cage for long, you can teach her to press a lever to deliver the feed stuff," the Russian diplomat explained.

"This is just the case: if something does not suit the United States in Russia’s behavior, shouts about sanctions begin," Ryabkov stated.

"This is simply unworthy of the country that considers itself capable of achieving its foreign policy aims. No foreign policy goals can be achieved by such methods," the diplomat said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday he did not rule out fresh sanctions against Russia over the Syria situation.

"So we'll see where we are in the next few days in the context of the discussions we're having," Kerry said.

According to the diplomat, the responsibility for wrapping up a normal interstate dialogue between Russia and the US will rest with Washington.

"If it [the US] inattentively listens to what Moscow says calmly in response to such threats, it is their problem. But responsibility for undermining the remains of not even partnership but a normal interstate communication will rest with it," Ryabkov said.

Ryabkov pointed out that Washington’s threats against Russia showed the Obama administration's weakness.

"As for threats, and there is a flow of them from Washington, and they do not stop for any day, we have the only answer: this is proof that the US administration is weak and lacks a tool in its arsenal that allows making agreement on a real basis," Ryabkov said.

According to the diplomat, the US should be aware that threats against Russia will fail to achieve the expected aims.

"We keep asking officials in Washington to get back down to earth. We are asking them to take things as they are, and not have illusory hopes that yelling, threatening gestures or bad manners for which there should be no place in inter-state relations they will achieve the expected aims," he said.

"It’s been a while so that the authors of Washington’s so-called sanctions policy could understand the zero result of using the threats of sanctions and the sanctions themselves from the viewpoint of their interests," Ryabkov said. "Any hostile actions against Russia will not go unanswered."

The official has also noted that the bill to suspend the Russia-US agreement on plutonium disposal was retaliation to Washington's sanctions.

Earlier on Monday, the international committee of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house recommended to ratify a bill on the suspension of the so-called plutonium deal with the United States.

Plutonium disposal deal suspension

Svetlana Zhurova, a deputy chairperson of the State Duma international committee, told journalists that the decision stems not only from politics but also from Washington’s current approaches to the subject matter of the agreement.

"Obviously, it is a very important document for Russia, especially in the light of deteriorated relations with the United States, its unfriendly attitudes towards us," Zhurova said. "We cannot stay aloof from what is going on. So, this ratification is a response to the actions taken by the United States in respect of our country."

She confirmed that the document will be considered by the State Duma on Wednesday, October 19. She said she is confident it will be supported by the lawmakers unanimously.

However she did not rule out that lawmakers may have questions "at least concerning plutonium disposal." "Because Russia has spent rather serious sums on the disposal under this agreement, a plant has been built. The United States offers its options concerning that but we don’t find them acceptable," Zhurova said, adding that a supplementary protocol was adopted in 2011 "because they [in the United States] have their own vision of the matter."

"In this context, we understand that suspension of the agreement is not a mere reaction to unfriendly attitudes but also to approaches as we begin to differ in them - what was reached in 2000 and in 2011 is now changing," she underscored.

The agreement with the United States was signed on August 29, 2000. It envisaged ways of disposing of excessive weapons grade plutonium in Russia and the United States, including the production of mixed oxide fuel to be used in nuclear power reactors, conversion into non-weapons-grade form and also burial. It was expected that either side will start eliminating "declassified" amounts of plutonium in an amount of 34 tonnes. Russia converts weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear power plants.

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