Excerpts from Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Croatian newspaper "Vecernji List", published on October 27, 2020

Question: Russia is being frequently accused of interfering in elections, in particular in the US, of masterminding cyberattacks (even last year’s Croatian Security and Intelligence Agency report mentioned those attacks), of using false news and misinformation, of poisoning its political opponents, Alexey Navalny being the most recent case, and of destabilising the Middle East and the Balkans. What is the reason for this? How do you respond to such accusations and how do you intend to rectify what is going on?

Answer: Unfortunately, we have to admit that recently, Washington and a number of EU capitals have redoubled their efforts to contain Russia's development; they are trying to punish us for an independent foreign policy, for consistently upholding our national interests. To justify their actions, the introduction of ever new anti-Russia sanctions, they throw in various accusations and insinuations, including those you just mentioned. At the same time, no one has shown any facts or evidence. This rhetoric is always being kept at the ‘highly likely’ innuendo level; those claims are based on fabricated accusations and run contrary to even elementary logic. All the proposals we make to set up a professional dialogue on any concerns remain without any reaction. So we have no other choice but to conclude we cannot count on a mutually respectful consideration of the emerging problems, because the West has made it a rule to talk with Russia based on the presumption of its guilt. Consider Berlin's arrogant refusal to respond to numerous requests from our Prosecutor General's Office on the so-called Navalny case, a direct violation of Germany's obligations under the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. Instead of respecting this international legal document, representatives of Germany and France initiated another batch of illegitimate EU sanctions against Russian citizens. All this deplorably and clearly illustrates the inability of the European Union to adequately assess what is happening in the world, and its tendency to put itself beyond the law.

We never avoid responding proportionately to the anti-Russia attacks by our Western colleagues who seem to have forgotten what diplomacy is and have sunk to the level of vulgar rudeness. Our retaliatory steps in the US and EU are well known.

At the same time, we continue to pursue a multi-vector foreign policy, to build up interaction with those who are open to honest joint work on the principles of equality, mutual respect and a balance of interests. The overwhelming majority of such international partners we have are in Eurasia, Africa and Latin America. Among them are our friends and allies in the EAEU, CSTO, CIS, BRICS and SCO.