MOSCOW, March 21 (RIA Novosti) – The United States is trying to make Russia cooperate through sanctions, but cooperation should be fair, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
“Our American colleagues say they’re endorsing sanctions in order to make Russia cooperate more closely on many international issues,” Lavrov said.
“This is quite an unscrupulous approach because cooperation needs to be fair. If we are partners, then our interests need to be considered on all issues on the agenda,” the foreign minister said.
The remarks came hours after Visa and MasterCard froze payment transactions for cards of ordinary Russian citizens at banks targeted by US sanctions.
On Thursday, the US expanded a list of individuals and organizations under sanction in response to a vote by Russia’s lower house of Parliament to ratify a treaty providing for the reunification of Crimea, a largely Russian-ethnic republic undemocratically handed over to Ukraine 60 years ago by Soviet leaders.
Lavrov added that American leaders are out of touch with reality and are being led by morbid thoughts of punitive action.
A referendum on Sunday in the Black Sea peninsula saw over 96 percent of voters support leaving Ukraine and joining Russia.