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7 Feb, 2019 17:16

Russia will respond to ‘very harsh’ moves against it, but won’t initiate violence – Foreign Ministry

Russia will respond to ‘very harsh’ moves against it, but won’t initiate violence – Foreign Ministry

Moscow will respond tit-for-tat to any attempts to contain it militarily, but won’t stir tensions with the West on its own initiative, Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, vowed.

Ryabkov said Russia expects to see “very harsh” military deterrence measures against it.

“We will respond to them in a tit-for-tat manner, but we won’t be initiating anything ourselves,” he assured during a media conference in the Russian capital.

He also stressed that Moscow is ready and able to answer any provocative moves and that “must be taken into account by our colleagues, who are currently thinking hard about ways to harm Russia.”

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Ryabkov told journalists that Moscow “welcomed” Donald Trump’s announcement that Washington may consider re-signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty to include not only the US and Russia, but other countries in possession of ground-based missiles with a range between 500km and 5,500km.

It’s nothing but words at the moment, he pointed out, but added that if the US specifies their ideas regarding such multilateral negotiations, they’ll be “considered with interest and, hopefully, in a positive manner” by Russia.

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In early February, Washington unilaterally withdrew from the INF deal, which was the cornerstone of European security since 1987, accusing Moscow of building prohibited missiles. Russia vigorously denied the accusations, which were never backed with convincing proof.

The diplomat also warned “the responsible politicians in the Western hemisphere” against military interference in Venezuela where US-backed opposition leader, Juan Guaido, recently declared himself interim president.

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“The destructive military interference into internal affairs of Venezuela is the worst possible scenario… Its consequences are hard to predict, but there’s little doubt that it’ll cause a spike in violence, which will be felt far outside Venezuela’s borders.”

Ryabkov also addressed the situation in Syria, saying that that it had “stabilized” and restoration of the country’s territorial integrity is now “within reach,” thanks to the efforts by Russia, Iran, and Turkey.

But there’s an issue with US troops, who remain in the country “illegally” and should leave as soon as possible, he added.

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