Russia to respond to measures in relation to its diplomatic missions in U.S., Canada, but not necessarily symmetrically - Russian Foreign Ministry
MOSCOW. March 8 (Interfax) - Moscow is not ruling out that the United States and Canada would decide to lower the level of diplomatic presence or expel the majority of Russian diplomats, but hopes that it would not happen, Alexander Darchiyev, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's North America Department, said in an interview with Interfax.
"Of course, it cannot be ruled out that our opponents, in their Russophobic zeal, would risk trying to flog themselves like the sergeant's widow [in Nikolai Gogol's play The Government Inspector] by lowering the diplomatic presence level or expelling the majority of diplomats. However, they must still have the sense of self-preservation, therefore, there are reasons to hope the worst won't happen," Darchiyev said.
Deliberate worsening of relations between the countries "is not our tactics and not our style," he said.
"At the same time, we rely on the reciprocity principle when establishing relations with Washington and Ottawa in any circumstances. In other words, we usually act on the basis of the 'an eye for an eye' principle, but not necessarily symmetrically," the high-ranking Russian diplomat said.
It fully applies to ensuring normal operations of diplomatic missions of the two countries, he said.
"Washington and Ottawa understand at a knee-jerk level that any restrictive measure against Russian foreign missions will result in similar difficulties for their diplomatic missions in Russia which they're not going to close yet," he said.