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Iran Press TV

US-Russia ties worse than during Cold War: Lavrov

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 29 April 2021 7:07 AM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says bilateral relations between Russia and the United States are now even worse than during the Cold War due to a lack of mutual respect.

"During the Cold War, the tensions were flying high, and risky crisis situations often emerged, but there was also a mutual respect," Lavrov said in a Russian state television interview on Wednesday. "It seems to me there is a deficit of it now."

The top Russian diplomat expressed Moscow's readiness to normalize ties with Washington but said the US had to stop posturing like a "sovereign" while rallying its allies against Russia and China.

Lavrov also warned that the two sides "would live in conditions of a cold war or worse" if the US administration avoided mutually respectful dialog on the basis of a balance of interests.

Elsewhere in the interview, Lavrov said Moscow had a "positive" attitude toward US President Joe Biden's proposal to hold a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but added that Russia needed to analyze all aspects of the initiative.

Moscow recently announced that the time and venue of a potential meeting between the two presidents remained unclear and largely hinged on Washington's behavior.

The Russian foreign minister said on Wednesday that he would be ready to meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken if his American counterpart joined a meeting of top diplomats of the Arctic nations in Iceland scheduled for next month.

Earlier on Wednesday, Lavrov said Russia would soon publish a list of governments deemed "unfriendly" to the Russian state, following a decree by Putin to clearly identify and take countermeasures against such countries.

Relations between the United States and Russia have been strained over allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 and 2020 US presidential elections as well as the Ukrainian conflict.

Ties between the two Cold War foes hit a new low last month after Biden said in an interview that he believed Putin was a "killer" and that the Russian president would have to "pay a price" for interference in the 2020 US presidential election.

Russia has denied the accusations of interference in US elections. After Biden's offensive remark, Moscow recalled the Russian ambassador to Washington for consultations, even though the Russian president himself took the comment dismissively.

Biden offered the proposal for a summit with Putin afterwards.

His administration earlier this month slapped sanctions on Russia for alleged meddling in the US elections and also ordered 10 Russian diplomats expelled.

In a tit-for-tat move, Russia declared 10 US diplomats persona non grata and blacklisted eight current and former American officials, also banning the US Embassy and its consulates from hiring Russian citizens and third-country nationals.

Turkey, allies should stop new purchases of Russian arms: US

In another development on Wednesday, the US administration threatened Turkey and all American allies with the possibility of more sanctions unless they refrained from making further purchases of Russian weaponry.

Blinken warned Ankara and others from further arms purchases from Russia amid Turkey's engagement in talks with Moscow on procuring a second batch of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.

"It's also very important going forward that Turkey, and for that matter all US allies and partners, avoid future purchases of Russian weaponry, including additional S-400s," the US secretary of state said.

"Any significant transactions with Russian defense entities, again, could be subject to the law, to CAATSA, and that's separate from and in addition to the sanctions that have already been imposed," he added, referring to the so-called Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act.

The US administration imposed sanctions on Turkey in December 2020 over its purchase of Russian air defense systems. Ankara condemned the move as a "grave mistake" that would "inevitably" harm mutual relations.

Washington claims the activation of the S-400s would compromise NATO's defenses and could give Russia access to intelligence about the American F-35 fighter jets and other military equipment.

Ankara, however, rejects the argument, saying the Russian-made systems will not be integrated into NATO's command-and-control infrastructure, but rather "used as a standalone system."

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