Russia's Lavrov meets US Tillerson, says feels US ready to continue dialog


MOSCOW, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday he believed his U.S. colleagues were ready to continue dialog with Moscow on complex issues despite bilateral tensions.

Lavrov, who met U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of an international gathering in Manila, said the first thing that Tillerson asked about was Russia's retaliation to new U.S. sanctions against Moscow.

"He was primarily interested ... in details of those decisions that we grudgingly made in response to the law on anti-Russian sanctions," Lavrov said.

The meeting was their first since President Donald Trump reluctantly signed into law the sanctions that Russia said amounted to a full-scale trade war and ended hopes for better ties.

"We provided an explanation," Lavrov said, referring to Russia's decision to take over a summer-house compound in Moscow leased by the U.S. embassy and an order to slash U.S. diplomatic presence in Russia.

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Russia takes over US compound
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Russia takes over US compound
A still image taken from a video footage shows a truck with a diplomatic license plate at a dacha compound used by U.S. diplomats for recreation, in Serebryany Bor residential area in the west of Moscow, Russia, August 1, 2017. REUTERS/Reuters TV
A still image taken from a video footage shows a truck packed with furniture and diplomats' belongings driving out of a dacha compound used by U.S. diplomats for recreation, in Serebryany Bor residential area in the west of Moscow, Russia, August 1, 2017. REUTERS/Reuters TV
Russian police officers enter a territory of a dacha compound used by U.S. diplomats for recreation, in Serebryany Bor residential area in the west of Moscow, Russia, July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
A still image taken from a video footage shows men disassembling constructions at a dacha compound used by U.S. diplomats for recreation, in Serebryany Bor residential area in the west of Moscow, Russia, August 1, 2017. REUTERS/Reuters TV
A still image taken from a video footage shows trucks packed with furniture and diplomats' belongings leaving a dacha compound used by U.S. diplomats for recreation, in Serebryany Bor residential area in the west of Moscow, Russia, August 1, 2017. REUTERS/Reuters TV
A view shows a house behind trees at a dacha compound used by U.S. diplomats for recreation, in Serebryany Bor residential area in the west of Moscow, Russia, July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
A view shows a country house at a dacha compound used by U.S. diplomats for recreation, in Serebryany Bor residential area in the west of Moscow, Russia, July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
A view shows a house behind trees at a dacha compound used by U.S. diplomats for recreation, in Serebryany Bor residential area in the west of Moscow, Russia, July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
A view shows a fence of a dacha compound used by U.S. diplomats for recreation, in Serebryany Bor residential area in the west of Moscow, Russia, July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
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Lavrov said he also cited President Vladimir Putin who, in an interview to Russian TV last week, explained Moscow's need to retaliate to the U.S. sanctions over its role in the Ukrainian crisis and recently expanded to punish Russia for meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

Lavrov described his talks with Tillerson as lengthy and said they covered a wide range of topics, from the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula to coordination plans between Russia and the United States to withstand attacks.

"We felt the readiness of our U.S. colleagues to continue dialog. I think there's no alternative to that," Lavrov said.

The two sides agreed that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and Under Secretary Thomas A. Shannon would continue discussing complex issues on the bilateral agenda.

UKRAINE

Speaking on Rossiya24 state TV, Lavrov also said Tillerson told him the United States' special representative on Ukraine, Kurt Volker, a former U.S. envoy to NATO, would meet a senior aide to Putin, Vladimir Surkov, "in the nearest future."

"We would be interested to see what impression the U.S. special envoy has on the current state of affairs," Lavrov said.

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Russia's Navy Day parades
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Russia's Navy Day parades
Russian warships sail during the Navy Day parade in Kronshtadt, a seaport town in the suburb of St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
A Russian Navy's minesweeper Kovrovets fires missiles during the Navy Day parade in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, Crimea, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Pavel Rebrov
Russian and Chinese warships sail during the Navy Day parade in Kronshtadt, a seaport town in the suburb of St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
People gather to watch the Navy Day parade, with the Russian nuclear missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) and nuclear submarine Dmitry Donskoy seen in the background, in Kronshtadt, a seaport town in the suburb of St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
Russian sailors stand in attention on a military vessel carring a replica of the boat of Peter the Great, during the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool
A paraglider flies with a Russian national flag over Russian warships during the Navy Day parade in the far eastern city of Vladivostok, Russia, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev
An aerial view shows the Russian nuclear missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) moored on the eve of the the Navy Day parade in Kronshtadt, a seaport town in the suburb of St. Petersburg, Russia, July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
A Russian Navy's minesweeper sails on the Neva river during the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Spectators watch fireworks exploding aboard Russian warships during the Navy Day parade in the far eastern city of Vladivostok, Russia, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev
A member of a military band performs as Russian fighter jets fly in formation during the Navy Day parade in Kronshtadt, a seaport town in the suburb of St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Russian President Vladimir Putin leaves after attending the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool
Commander of Russian Western military district Andrei Kartapolov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, President Vladimir Putin and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Vladimir Korolev walk along the Admiralty Embankment ahead of the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu ahead of the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
The sailing ship Khersones and the Russian submarine Stary Oskol take part in the Navy Day parade in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, Crimea, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Pavel Rebrov
Couples kiss while watching fireworks during Navy Day celebrations in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
A traditional parade of the Black Sea Fleet saw eight ships unmoored in Sevastopol in honour of Navy Day, Sunday. The Moscow cruiser, the frigate Admiral Grigorovich, and the border guard ship Provorniy were among the vessels taking part in the parade. According to local authorities, around 100,000 residents and visitors gathered on the shores of Sevastopol Bay to see the grand spectacle. In total, 36 vessels took part in the celebrations in Sevastopol.
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Washington sent Volker to Ukraine last month to assess the situation in the ex-Soviet republic, where a 2015 ceasefire between Kiev's forces and Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country is regularly violated.

Washington cites the conflict as a key obstacle to improved relations between Russia and the United States. (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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