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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Russia considers downgrading diplomatic relations with the West

Ukraine’s foreign backers are edging closer to the “point of no return,” a senior diplomat has said

Moscow could be forced to downgrade diplomatic ties with Western countries, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has warned, citing hostile policies of the US and its allies.

“We have not initiated such a step yet, despite all of the things related to the most tumultuous phase in our relations with the West,” the diplomat said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper, published on Thursday.

“Is a decision to downgrade the level of diplomatic ties possible? I can say that we are examining this issue. Such decisions are made on the highest level,” Ryabkov said, adding that it is too early to “speculate.”

The West’s “sense of impunity” on the world stage will eventually force Russia to retaliate more decisively, if the situation does not change, the deputy minister warned.

Ryabkov accused Washington of helping Ukrainian forces pick targets when using US-supplied long-range ATACMS missiles to strike Russian territory. Last week, four people were killed when cluster munitions from a missile hit a packed beach in Crimea. The incident prompted Moscow to summon the American ambassador. “It was a flagrant case of a direct [US] involvement in the conflict,” Ryabkov said. “The complicity in a terrorist act committed by the Kiev regime will not go unanswered.”

The diplomat said that deliveries of weapons to Ukraine and attempts to confiscate Russian assets abroad undermine potential dialogue in other fields, such as arms control. “They must understand that it would be simply impossible,” he stressed.

Earlier in June, Ukraine’s Western backers renewed their pledges to continue support for Kiev in its fight with Moscow. Russia has repeatedly stated that no amount of foreign aid will stop its operation in Ukraine, and that weapons deliveries only lead to further escalation.