MOscou “cannot forgive” the United States for denying visas to Russian journalists who will accompany Russian diplomatic chief Sergei Lavrov to the UN on Monday and Tuesday, the minister said Sunday before leaving for New York.
“We will not forget, we will not forgive,” said Mr. Lavrov warned the press and condemned Washington’s “cowardly” decision.
Amid a military offensive in Ukraine that has been sanctioned by the rest of the world, Russia this month at the UN.
“A country that calls itself a smart, strong, free, honest country has done something stupid,” Lavrov lamented, as the United States refused to issue visas to Russian journalists, showing, in his opinion, “(their) statements about freedom of expression are valuable.”
Earlier on Sunday, his Deputy Minister Sergei Ryabkov indicated that Washington “did not issue visas to journalists who were supposed to accompany Mr. Lavrov during his migration” in the United States, despite “contacts on several occasions in recent days” at Moscow’s initiative.
Mr. Ryabkov accused “a scandalous and completely unacceptable method” on the part of the Americans, condemning the US as “a farce” that, according to him, “pretended to work” in order to “find a solution”.
“We will find ways to respond to this so that Americans will remember for a long time that this was not done. They will remember it,” he added.
A diplomatic source quoted by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti responded, “There is no doubt that American journalists (in Russia) will experience all the discomfort and difficulties, a similar attitude from the Russian authorities.
Since the beginning of the Russian intervention in Ukraine, the conditions for granting authorization to the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, dependent on visas, have already been greatly tightened.
This new chapter in tensions between Moscow and Washington comes three weeks after the arrest in Russia of American journalist Ivan Gershkovich, suspected of “espionage” by Russian authorities, which the US and the man involved have categorically denied.
Asked more about a possible meeting between Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart Antony Blinken earlier in the week, Mr. Ryabkov announced at this point that it was “not part of the plans”.
Mr. Lavrov last visited the United Nations in New York in September, during the General Assembly. On Monday, he is due to meet UN chief Antonio Guterres before chairing a discussion session on the Middle East the following day.
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