Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to media questions (Bishkek, March 28, 2019) for the show “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin”, March 31, 2019
Question: US President Donald Trump has allegedly said that “Russia has to get out” of Venezuela. Will you comment on this, please?
Sergey Lavrov: The Foreign Ministry of Russia has already posted a comment on this. We responded to the telephone call I received from US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who made a similar, if more polite, statement. We explained what our military personnel were doing in Venezuela. Their presence in Venezuela is absolutely legitimate: they are servicing the equipment that we have supplied under an intergovernmental agreement, which the Venezuelan Parliament has ratified and which is fully in keeping with the Venezuelan Constitution.
Question: Is the use of such phrases as “get out” acceptable in diplomatic practice?
Sergey Lavrov: I don’t discuss other people’s manners. This is the time of new approaches, particularly in US policies, steps and statements. I leave every man to his taste.
Question: Mike Pompeo has called for “joint action with NATO allies on Ukraine.” What can you say on this score?
Sergey Lavrov: Frankly speaking, he makes very many statements. When we talk on the phone – we have not met personally for a long while – he talks quite tactfully, although it is clear that we do not see eye to eye on most subjects. But those constant threats… If you work as the head of your country’s foreign policy department, you should look for diplomatic solutions to problems. I do not see anything aside from ultimatums in the US diplomacy now, plus sanctions if those ultimatums are turned down. All other tools have somehow disappeared from the US diplomatic arsenal, which is sad.