TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Ryabkov made the remarks during an interview with ABC aired on Saturday shortly after Russia announced that it would be reducing the number of US diplomatic staff in the country and halt the use of embassy storage facilities.
The Russian official noted that such a move was “long overdue” and had been carried out in retaliation to the fresh round of the US’ anti-Moscow sanctions.
“It was the last drop that made all this happen,” he said in reference to the “completely weird and unacceptable” bill approved by the US last week.
On Thursday, the US Senate has voted overwhelmingly to impose new sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea.
Ryabkov called on the US to end such retaliation measures and turn over a new leaf in bilateral relations, which are currently in “a miserable stance.”
“Now we should start anew and my call to the counterparts in Washington and also to Ambassador Tefft is to stop now, we should start building a new house, a new construction or a very different type, otherwise everything will be in tatters,” he said.
In reference to Russia’s decision to downsize of the number of US diplomatic corps in the country, Ryabkov noted that Russia waited seven months before engaging in such an action.
“We waited so long, we thought it was sufficient time for decision makers in New York to change their minds, it didn’t happen,” he said, noting that “now we are equals.”
“So if the US side decides to move towards further deterioration, we will answer, we will respond in kind. We will mirror this, we will retaliate, but my call and my whole point is – don’t do this. It’s to the detriment of the interest of the US and “I’m hopeful that even those who are the worst adversaries of Russia in your country, will understand this very simple logic,” he added.
The sanctions have been proposed over Russia’s alleged meddling in the US 2016 presidential election, which saw US President Donald Trump winning the presidency. Moscow is accused of having colluded with the Trump campaign team in an effort to change the outcome of the election in his favor. Moscow has consistently denied the allegations.
An independent investigation is quietly underway in the US to probe the allegations of links between Trump and Russia.
Russia slams Tillerson’s sanction remarks
Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed hope that Russia would adopt a conciliatory approach after Americans implement fresh sanctions against Moscow.
Shortly after Tillerson’s remarks, the Russian Embassy in Washington posted a series of tweets in which it announced its bewilderment over Tillerson’s remarks.
“The statement made by the @StateDept on July 29 regarding a new sanctions legislation approved by Congress cannot but raise eyebrows,” it said. “Washington still doesn’t get the fact that pressure never works against @Russia, bilateral relations can hardly be improved by sanctions,” it added.