All news

Russia can’t grasp US intentions, which hinders talks, says diplomat

A Russian diplomat also comments on the Skripal poisoning case

MOSCOW, April 3. /TASS/. Russia still has no understanding of Washington’s intentions in the field of bilateral relations, which hinders successful talks, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko said at a meeting entitled The Future of Diplomacy and Political Communications on the platform of the international discussion club Valdai on Tuesday.

"In our relations with the United States there is a great problem: we do not understand what our partners’ intensions are and what they would like to achieve," he said. "Successful talks are possible only when we have a clear understanding of our partners’ intentions. Then we can start a discussion on how to reconcile these goals and intentions."

He said Moscow was alarmed by some of Washington’s steps.

"We’ve been described as adversaries. The US openly says that it will seek guaranteed supremacy in military and economic terms," Grushko said. "The situation is alarming and it cannot be otherwise."

Ball in West’s court

In his opinion, the lack of economic relations between Russia and the United States is a great setback.

"This situation is absolutely abnormal. Economic inter-dependence is a major factor for balance between states," he said.

"By and large the ball is in the court of our Western partners. The same applies not only to the United States," he said. "I’m deeply certain that the ultimate interest is to recognize the realities and to recognize that Europe without Russia is not Europe."

Positive trends do exist

However, despite all problems in Russian-US relations certain positive trends do exist, Grushko said. "We keep saying this on and on, because we believe it is crucial to pool efforts in the struggle against common challenges and threats. We are in the same boat," Grushko said.

"Money will not provide protection from the threat of terrorism. A wide international coalition (for struggle against terrorism) must be created. This is precisely what President Vladimir Putin has called for," he said.

Grushko considers the absence of economic ties between Russia and the United States to be "a weak spot" in bilateral relations of the two countries.

"We understand that the lack of economic ties is a weak spot in our relations with the US, it is absolutely abnormal, since an economic relationship is a serious balance between countries," he said on Tuesday.

Skripal case

The provocation around the so-called Skripal case was obviously meant to justify military budget spending in Western countries, he added.

"Colossal spending is in question. A big enemy is needed to justify it. So, it is obvious that the big provocation staged by the British side is meant to add more fuel to the fire of the Russophobic campaign," he told journalists.

The United Kingdom, which disseminates false information on the alleged poisoning of former Russian military intelligence Colonel turned British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, is seeking to prevent normalization of ties between the West and Russia, he said. 

Over the past years, the West has created the image of Moscow, which has nothing to do with reality, the Russian diplomat said.

"Six slides, which were shown by the UK Embassy in Russia, signal a very difficult situation," Grushko said. "This is one big fake and its key goal is to prevent normal relations with Russia."

On March 4, Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for the United Kingdom and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in Salisbury, England. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia.

However, without presenting any evidence, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow. In retaliation to the UK’s steps, 23 British diplomats were expelled from Russia, the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg was closed and the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia.

On March 26-29, in a show of solidarity with London, the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and a number of European countries expelled more than 150 Russian diplomats. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has vowed retaliatory measures.