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Lavrov vows tit-for-tat response to new US sanctions

The US sanctions on Russia over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the Skripal poisoning case came into effect on August 27

MOSCOW, August 28. /TASS/. Moscow will provide tit-for-tat response to Washington’s anti-Russian measures, attempts to communicate with Russia via ultimatums are fruitless, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Slovak Pravda newspaper.

The minister noted that the relations between both countries "are still under significant influence by US domestic policy conjuncture." He noted that "some forces in the Washington establishment add fuel to anti-Russian hysteria and try to block any positive progress in bilateral affairs."

"It’s no accident that right after the meeting in Helsinki, [US President Donald] Trump came under fire of his opponents, and Congress started to prepare new initiatives against our country," Lavrov continued. "In this context, the administration itself is not being consistent. Despite the promises of Americans that they are ready for dialogue, we still face unfriendly measures, which aggravate the difficult situation in our relations even further."

"For example, on August 8, they announced new anti-Russian measures on the account of our alleged involvement in the "Skripal case". Moreover, they threatened us with further pressure if we fail to convince the US that we no longer use chemical and biological weapons," the Russian top diplomat reminded. "It’s hard to take these demands seriously." According to him, these demands seem "especially strange, considering that we have eliminated our chemical arsenal completely, with confirmation from the OPCW, which cannot be said about the US."

"For our part, we continue to act in a calm and pragmatic way, reacting to all attacks in line with the principle of reciprocity. Of course, the attempts to speak with Russia in the language of ultimatums are fruitless," the minister stressed. "However, we remain open to building normal relations with Washington, based on mutual respect for each other’s interests."

New US sanctions

The United States’ sanctions on Russia over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the British city of Salisbury came into effect on Monday. The US Department of State argues that Russia is in breach of the 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act. The new restrictions include a total ban on the supply of electronic devices and other dual-use products to Russia.

Earlier this month, a senior State Department official said, however, that the US authorities intend to make exceptions to the new sanctions on Russia. According to the official, "we will have a waiver for the provision of foreign assistance to Russia and to the Russian people." "We are also waiving sanctions with respect to space flight activities, because of course there are space flight actions in which we are engaged with the Russian Federation upon which we depend in some regards… And we are also having a carve-out for safety of commercial passenger aviation because some of these national security sensitive goods in question are ones that perhaps might be important for safety of flight issues," the official added.

Meanwhile, tougher measures may be taken in November. The US authorities said however that Russia might escape the harsher sanctions if it provides credible guarantees not to use chemical and biological weapons and allows the United Nations and other international organizations to carry out inspections on the country’s soil.