Russia to Respond to New Set of US Sanctions on Reciprocal Basis - Lavrov

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia will respond to the US sanctions imposed in connection to the poisoning of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the United Kingdom in a pragmatic manner and on a reciprocal basis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview released on Tuesday.

"For our part, we will continue to act in a calm and pragmatical manner, responding to all the attacks according to the principle of reciprocity," Lavrov told Slovakia's Pravda newspaper.

The minister once again reiterated that it was futile to use the language of ultimatums with respect to Russia.

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Sergey Lavrov said in an interview that after the Helsinki summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump the two countries have been elaborating concrete steps to ensure the effective cooperation between Moscow and Washington.

Lavrov recalled that during July's summit Putin and Trump agreed to overcome existing differences in order to preserve strategic stability, fight international terrorism and other modern challenges and deal with regional crises.

"Currently concrete steps are being elaborated in order to ensure effective interaction on various fronts," the Russian foreign minister told Slovakia's Pravda newspaper.

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Lavrov, at the same time, stressed that the main challenge was the US internal political conjuncture, which opposed vigorously any attempts to improve relations with Moscow.

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According to the minister, the strained relations between Russia and the United States have adverse effect on the both countries.

"It is evident that the negative dynamic of relations is counterproductive for the both countries and creates additional risks for the entire international security architecture," Lavrov stressed.

Sergey Lavrov also commented on the Russian Internet Research Agency suspected by Washington of attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election is currently challenging these allegations in the US courts.

"Speaking about the St.Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency mentioned by you, it is contesting in the US courts the charges brought against businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin and his employees at the beginning of the year," Lavrov told Slovakia's Pravda newspaper when asked to comment on the charges brought against the agency.

Lavrov also recalled that as early as 20 years ago Russia initiated the discussion of the information security issues under the aegis of the United Nations and recently called on the international community to adopt a resolution establishing rules for the countries' conduct in the information space at the upcoming UN General Assembly.

The United States has repeatedly accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller's team has been investigating allegations of collusion between Russia and the US President Donald Trump's campaign. Trump and top Russian officials have repeatedly refuted the allegations.

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On August 8, the US administration announced new sanctions against Russia, consisting of two packages, due to its alleged use of chemical weapons in the poisoning of the Skripals in the UK city of Salisbury in March.

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According to media reports, the second round of sanctions, which might be imposed in November, might include scaling back diplomatic relations between the two countries, suspending flights of Russian airline Aeroflot to the United States and almost complete cessation of US exports to the country. According to the US State Department, Russia could avoid the second round of sanctions by assuring it would not use chemical weapons in the future.

Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in the Skripals case, stressing that London has neither provided evidence nor cooperated with Moscow in investigating the incident.

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