Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow is willing to normalize ties with Washington but that the United States should halt acting like a “sovereign” while encouraging its partners against Russia and China.
Lavrov said if the United States avoids a reciprocally civil dialogue based on a range of concerns, “we would live in conditions of a Cold War or worse.”
“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 an interview with the manager of the Rossiya Segodnya state news agency, Dmitry Kiselyov, who hosts a weekly news program on Russian state television interview. “It seems to me there is a deficit of it now.”
Earlier this month, the Biden administration hit Russia with sanctions for meddling in the 2020 U.S. presidential election and for involvement in the SolarWind hack of federal agencies—activities Moscow has rejected.
The United States directed 10 Russian diplomats ousted, targeted dozens of companies and people and imposed new curbs on Russia’s ability to borrow money. While ordering the sanctions, U.S. President Joe Biden also called for de-escalating connections and held the door open for partnership with Russia in certain areas.
Russia immediately countered by ordering 10 U.S. diplomats to leave, excluding eight current and former U.S. officials and tightening requirements for U.S. Embassy operations.
As part of the limitations, Russia moved to forbid the U.S. Embassy and its consulates from hiring Russian citizens and third-country nationals.Similar prohibitions would also be utilized to other nations indicated as “unfriendly.” Lavrov said Wednesday that a list of those countries will be published soon to ponder the decision.
During the interview with Kiselyov, Lavrov said Moscow has had a “positive” attitude to Biden’s proposal to hold a point with Russian President Vladimir Putin but added that Russia still needs to examine all aspects of the initiative.
Lavrov said he would attend a meeting of top diplomats of the Arctic nations in Iceland set for next month and would be able to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken if he also joins the meeting.
The embassy said it was severing consular staff by 75% and that from May 12 it would stop processing non-immigrant visas for non-diplomatic travel after a new Russian law imposed limits on how many local staff can work at foreign diplomatic missions.