MOSCOW, April 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russia does not engage in threats or blackmail in order to advance its own interests, unlike the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
“We won’t force anyone, we won’t blackmail anyone with threats, that if you don’t vote like we want you to, we’ll cut your aid. That’s how the Americans do it when they collect votes from around the world,” Lavrov said during a CIS Youth Diplomats Forum.
Lavrov said that is how the US acted “in order to convince other countries to recognize Kosovo and not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”
“We know all of this because we were told. We were told of the methods of how the Americans work with governments of all the various regions. That’s not our method. We won’t blackmail, we won’t threaten. We are after all respectful people,” Lavrov said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier Friday that Russia will pay a high price for its policy on Ukraine.
“If Russia continues in this direction, it will not just be a grave mistake, it will be an expensive mistake,” said Kerry.
US President Barack Obama has also threatened Moscow with new economic sanctions if the situation in Ukraine continues to escalate. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly stated that the language of sanctions is "inappropriate and counterproductive."
Tensions between Moscow and Washington rose to a fever pitch following the reunification of Crimea with Russia in March. While the US supports the new Ukrainian authorities, who recently launched a military operation against pro-federalization supporters, Moscow has urged the White House to use its influence on Kiev to make it acknowledge responsibility for the ongoing crisis and implement an agreement reached last week in Geneva.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.