MOSCOW, August 9. /TASS/. By introducing new sanctions against Moscow, Washington is intentionally seeking a further deterioration of bilateral relations and Russia won’t accept the US demands for lifting the restrictions, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Thursday.
"As a condition for lifting sanctions the United States is making the demands, which are unacceptable for us, and this is the first stage. They threaten us with further increasing the sanctions pressure," the diplomat said.
"So, the US is intentionally choosing the path of a further deterioration of bilateral relations, which have been nearly reduced to zero thanks to its efforts," Zakharova said.
"Instead of engaging in search for the ways to improve bilateral ties, as was discussed at the Russian-US summit in Helsinki on July 16, the US Administration has hurled all effort into aggravating the situation," the diplomat said.
"The intention of those behind a new round of hyping up the Skripal case is obvious: they seek to keep afloat this advantageous for them anti-Russian topic by hook or by crook as an instrument for demonizing Russia," she added.
"US statements about readiness to continue working towards improving relations with Russia sound strange against this background," she said. "This is barefaced hypocrisy. Washington’s deeds testify to the contrary," Zakharova stressed.
Russia will consider tit-for-tat action to new sanctions of the US, she said. "These will be retaliatory measures rather than the Russian side’s phantasy," Zakharova said, noting that Moscow is not planning to whip up tensions or complicate even further the situation in Russian-US relations.
Moscow’s retaliatory measures will depend on the US restrictions against Russia, the diplomat said. "The measures will be worked out given the steps taken by the US side."
"This time, the Skripal poisoning saga (poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury) was chosen as a far-fetched pretext," the diplomat said. "The Russian side has repeatedly warned that talking [to Russia] from the position of strength and ultimatums is useless and hopeless," she stressed. "The Russian side will engage in working out retaliation measures to a new unfriendly move by Washington," she said.
Earlier, Washington declared that on August 22 it would impose sanctions against Russia for alleged complicity in the poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain’s Salisbury on March 4. A US Department of State official said earlier that within 90 days the US authorities would make a decision regarding a second package of sanctions against Moscow depending on whether it would comply with a number of conditions. Russia strongly denies its involvement in the Skripals affair.