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Russian diplomat comments on new US sanctions

On July 27, the US Senate adopted a bill toughening the US’ unilateral sanctions against Russia
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, July 28. /TASS/. Moscow calls on Washington to refrain from further destructive actions to avoid Russia’s negative reaction, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday, commenting on the Russian foreign ministry’s measures in respect of US diplomatic missions.

"Regrettably, our calls, our patience, our readiness to demonstrate good will, not to yield to emotions are finite. We were forced to take response measures," Ryabkov said in an interview with the Rossiya-1 television channel. "These are not sanctions but Russia’s response measure to even the balance."

"If the United States, in its anti-Russian frenzy, tries to do anything else to harm us, a tit-for-tat reaction will follow. It is a negative spiral," he said.

Moscow calls on the United States "to refrain from such destructive actions," the Russian diplomat stressed. "Today, I told that to US Ambassador John Tefft, with whom I had a hard but professional talk. I reassured him that there are no signs on the Russian part that our policy is ruinous," he said. "On the contrary, we want to restore justice and call on the Americans to show restraint."

"I don’t consider this bill frightening, I consider it… defective, harmful for the United States itself and doomed to failure. It means that the goals set by its initiators will never be achieved. Relations with Russia will only worsen and the perspective of their normalization will go further on into the future," he said.

"Once again, we are warning the US side, and now I am doing it publicly, against attempts to further unwind the spiral of confrontation, against attempts to hit our relations over and over again," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with the Rossiya-1 television channel. "Now, the choice and assessment of the consequences of what is going on depends completely on the Americans."

"I insist that in case of these or those actions we will have to take retaliation steps, countermeasures. They might be absolutely tit-for-tat but they might not be that way at all," the Russian diplomat stressed.

According to Ryabkov, the passage about ‘tit-for-tat’ measures in the Russian foreign ministry’s official statement "means nothing more but what is written there." "In case Washington does not demonstrate due responsibility, we will respond to further provocative and hostile steps," he said.

"Our recreation centers that are Russia’s property and that enjoy full diplomatic immunity have become a target of such barbaric invasion," he went on. "They have become a toy in the hands of those who have only been seeking a pretext to further worsen the already poisoned atmosphere of relations with Russia."

"No one is taking care of these buildings and they are declining," he said. "Responsibility for that rests with the American side. It will have to repair possible damage."

"Actually, the restrictive measure concerning the number of US missions’ staff is applicable not only to the embassy but also to all the three consulates general that are located in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok," he said. "As for the personalized or non-personalized approach, we have learnt from our own experience that in a situation of choice between this of that model, it is not always possible to foresee what is to happen afterwards."

"The number 455 is how many our diplomatic and technical employees are on long-term assignment at all of our missions in the United States," he said. "They are not only Washington, but also New York and consulates general - all who are there. As for the number of the staff of US missions in Russia, I’d recommend to address this question to the American side."

"We are not counting on an abacus, we understand that in this case we have to restore balance, parity," he noted. "What matters for us is that we could state (and we have relevant instruments to check it) that the US has not more than 455 employees at its missions in Russia from September 1."

On July 27, the US Senate adopted a bill toughening the US’ unilateral sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. On Tuesday, it won the majority of votes in the House of Representatives. Now, Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act will by referred to President Donald Trump.