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Russia’s response to US sanctions does not necessarily have to be tit-for-tat — Lavrov

Russia will respond to US sanctions not necessarily reciprocally, but steering clear of any harm to itself, Lavrov says

MOSCOW, September 3. /TASS/. Russia will not necessarily give a tit-for-tat response to the new sanctions the US has imposed over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, addressing students and lecturers at a Moscow State Institute of International Relations event marking the beginning of the new academic year on Monday.

"We will definitely respond to this and an announcement will be made in this connection," Lavrov said. "Our response will not necessarily be a tit-for-tat one. I believe that a tit-for-tat response is not always the best one," the Russian top diplomat added.

"Sanctions have been imposed based on totally false allegations. The words ‘highly likely’ are all the British authorities have been able to bring against Russia," Lavrov pointed out.

"We are not getting hysterical, we do not wish to respond tit for tat," he said. "We do respond to sanctions, we introduce retaliatory restrictive measures but in a way that will not be harmful to ourselves. We target specific personalities who have been accelerating this flywheel of Russophobia, which is utterly unnecessary to the Americans, Europe, or ourselves."

Moscow stays open to talks, Lavrov said.

"At the Russian-US summit in Helsinki there was a normal discussion," he stated.

"The hysteria that followed in the United States following the two presidents’ joint news conference… The US political system should be ashamed of causing such a wave," Lavrov said.

Russia, he said, seeks an equitable dialogue and mutual respect.

"Attempts at talking to us differently would be wrong," Lavrov stated. "As soon as the United States is prepared for a discussion, it will not find us waiting. But as we have seen, US President Donald Trump’s wish to have normal relations with us is blocked by the Russophobic lobby in Washington.

Lavrov believes that the near future of Russian-US relations will be not very bright.

"I believe that the near future of Russian-US relations will be not very bright," he said. Lavrov voiced the hope that in the final count the relations would get back to the level of true strategic partners.

"When Russia and the United States are on good terms, the whole world benefits: less crises, less conflicts and more benefit to our economies," he said. "Let me remind you that we are prepared to move forward towards each other to the degree Washington is prepared to do so.".

On August 27, the US administration imposed new sanctions on Moscow over its alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. The new restrictions ban the supply of dual-use products to Russia, as well as the export of all sensitive goods and technologies related to the United States’ national security and also oil and gas industry electronics and technologies.