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286 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     278 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

21.06.2015

British view of the Russian foreign policy: misunderstanding or distortion? (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

When one listens to what the British officials and media pundits have to say about Russia's policy towards Ukraine, it is hard not to wonder if it is a simple misunderstanding or a deliberate distortion of facts.The public in this country is intentionally led to believe that it is Russia that violates territorial integrity of Ukraine and intend to occupy and absorb Eastern Ukraine. Moreover, last year's democratic choice of about 1.5 million Crimeans (more than 96% of the peninsula’s population) to join Russia is smeared as «sham» referendum. So let us be clear: this interpretation couldn't be farther from reality. 

Let’s start with Crimea. For a number of historical reasons the overwhelming majority of Crimean residents are predominantly of the Russian origin. They have always been identified with the Russian nation; the local community constitutes an important part of the Russian-speaking world and has close ties with the rest of Russia. For 24 years Crimea was part of sovereign Ukraine. Until the events of late 2013-early 2014, the Crimeans lived a normal life in a normal country. But the violent coup in Kiev staged with the Western acquiescence has led to the rise of radical Ukrainian nationalism, intolerance, and anti-Russian hysteria. Parts of the country were rampant with constitutional abuse, street riots, and sieges of administrative buildings, police stations and military units. From the very beginning peoples of Crimea chose to disassociate themselves decidedly from what was happening elsewhere in Ukraine, insulted by the anti-Russian rhetoric of the Maidan leaders and activists, alarmed by their calls to “hang Ruskies” and protested against illegitimate installation of a new leadership.

The advent of the new regime was marked by a severe lack of democracy; certain developments posed a direct threat to the well-being of Russian-speaking inhabitants of Crimea: two days after the coup d’état the Verkhovna Rada legislated to abolish the 2012 Law on the Fundamentals of the State Language Policy, which preserved the right of ethnic minorities to use their native languages. Peaceful anti-Maidan protesters from Crimea were brutally assaulted.

As a result, some Ukrainian citizens that have never really belonged to their country culturally and psychologically have lost their hope of finding protection from their newly-installed government and faced the choice of becoming an oppressed minority or severing their ties with the hostile regime to secure a future for themselves and their children.

The decision to hold a referendum was made by the legitimate local authorities, the independence of Crimea was proclaimed and an appeal to enter the Russian Federation was made based on the indisputable results of the popular vote. Standards of international law were fully observed as the right of nations to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter was exercised freely by the Crimeans. Crimea was recognized an independent and sovereign state by Russia and on 18 March 2015 in Moscow two countries signed a Treaty of Unification, under which the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became two new subjects of the Russian Federation. Events in Donetsk and Lugansk regions in Eastern Ukraine, brutal mass murder of innocent protesters in Odessa on 2 May 2014, suppression of freedom of the press and other human rights violations in Ukraine prove that the Crimean residents chose the only way to preserve safety and peace in their land.

The Russian Government’s position on Eastern Ukraine is very clear: Donbass is an integral part of Ukraine, there is no dispute on that. The civil war in this part of the country is a result of the anti-state, anti-constitutional takeover that eventually led to a sharp resistance on the territory ofUkraine. As of today,Russia calls upon all parties to comply with all the agreements reached in Minsk and work to achieve their full implementation. Russia cannot do it unilaterally. We keep hearing the same thing repeated like a mantra that Russia should influence the southeast of Ukraine. We are making such efforts. But it is impossible to resolve this problem through our influence on the southeast alone. There has to be a pressure on the current official authorities in Kiev, something we cannot do. This is a road our western partners have to take– those in Europe and America. At the moment we do not see enough of this effort.

We have also a clear view of what needs to be done to resolve this crisis. Firstly, a constitutional reform in Ukraine that provides for decentralization as a key element should be carried out. Secondly, the law passed earlier on the special status of Lugansk and Donetsk should be enacted. It was passed, but still not acted upon. This requires a resolution of the Supreme Rada– the Ukrainian Parliament, which is also covered in theMinsk agreements. Kiev has to move from current manipulations to real action. Thirdly, an amnesty should be ensured by enacting the law prohibiting the prosecution and punishment of persons in connection with the events that took place in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk.It is impossible tohave apolitical dialogue with people who are threatened with criminal persecution. And fourthly, the law onmunicipal elections should be passes as well. All this is spelled out inthe Minsk agreements and all this should be done with the consent of Donetsk andLugansk.

Unfortunately, we still see no direct dialogue between Lugansk, Donetsk and Kiev. The economic recovery of these territories has not yet been started. If the current authorities in Kiev believe that this is their territory inhabited by the Ukrainian citizens, who have the right to receive, say, disability benefits or pensions that they earned under the existing Ukrainian law, the Kiev authorities cannot refuse to pay, they simply have no right to refuse. All this has to be done, and not in words, but in practice.

Russia is not redrawing borders in Europe. We do not saw fear among neighbours. It is a pity that even on an official level there are attempts to mislead the public opinion and to base policy on false pretexts as it was in Iraq and some other countries in the Middle East and now in Ukraine.




LATEST EVENTS

09.08.2018 - Letter from Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to the Guardian’s editor

In response to the Ambassador Beruchashvili’s letter, offering not so much a recollection of the August 2008 events in the Caucasus, but rather a misleading reiteration of the Georgian claims against Russia I have to refer to some of the universally recognized facts and consequences resulting from those tragic events.


24.07.2018 - Eastern Economic Forum: the East is bright (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

When talking about Russia’s Far East, you invariably remember its stunning natural beauty, abundance in natural resources and vast territories. But when one thinks of its investments prospects, you also invariably remember its harsh climate, low average population density and the lack of transport and other infrastructure. But now the situation is changing fundamentally. The region is undergoing a huge and qualitative revival. The development of the region has been declared one of the national priorities for Russia. In the last 5 years 18 advanced development zones and 5 free ports have been established in the Russian Far East. Long-term tax exemptions have been provided for large investment projects. Paperless e-visas for visitors of Vladivostok are available for citizens of 18 countries.


03.05.2018 - SALISBURY: A CLASSIFIED CASE (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

On 4 March 2018 two Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were reportedly poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire with the toxic chemical named A-234 under the British classification. On 12 March Foreign Secretary Johnson summoned me to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and said that Russia was “highly likely” responsible for the attack. He invited us to respond by the next day, whether this had been a direct act by the state or Russia had lost control over this nerve agent. The incident had international repercussions, including expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from 28 countries, notwithstanding the fact that the charges were based on assumptions and unverifiable intelligence. The Western countries lost the same number of Moscow-based staff. Meanwhile, the British government provided no evidence either to the public, its allies or Russia. Subsequent events revealed that no proof of Russia’s involvement existed. On 1 May, National Security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill confirmed that (despite a number of previous leaks) no suspect had been identified, a statement that speaks for itself.


14.02.2018 - The international community needs a unified legal base to combat information crimes (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Amid the rapid advance in technologies we face a growing number of cyber-crimes: in 2016, these offences caused damage of $445 billion and by 2020, according to experts, this figure can reach up to $3 trillion, exceeding the overall income received from the Internet.


26.01.2018 - UNGA: Glorification of Nazism must stop (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In December the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the traditional resolution on “Combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. It was supported by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States: 133 states voted for this document, 57 became its co-sponsors, and only Ukraine and the United States voted against.


29.11.2017 - Afghan opium production jumps to record level (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

According to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey released by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2017 opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 per cent to a record level of 9,000 metric tons. The area under opium poppy cultivation also grew by 63 per cent to its highest level of 328,000 hectares. Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of the poppy from which opium and heroin are produced. The 2017 record levels of opium production and poppy cultivation create multiple challenges for the country, its neighbours and many other countries that serve as a transit for or a destination of Afghan opiates. The significant levels of opium poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates fuel instability, insurgency and increase funding to terrorist groups in Afghanistan.


19.10.2017 - Why to fight with memorials (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The campaign in Poland against World War II memorials to Soviet officers and soldiers, who had liberated the country from the Nazi occupation, is gaining momentum. Warsaw has created a legal framework allowing the disposal of Soviet/Russian memorial objects or taking them out of public sight, including the most widespread monuments of gratitude to the Red Army. Why?


18.10.2017 - Syria: collective humanitarian efforts, not sanctions, are needed more than ever (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The situation in Syria is undergoing serious transformation. Due to the de-escalation process, it has now become possible to drastically reduce the level of violence, to improve the humanitarian situation as well as to fight terrorists more efficiently. The ISIS-controlled territory is shrinking. On 14-15 September, at the international meeting in Astana all four de-escalation zones were finalized.


05.10.2017 - What You Have to Know about Status of Crimea (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the West tore up the constitutional space in Ukraine. The legitimate President of the country was overthrown. It was marked by a severe lack of democracy and violence that posed a direct threat to the well-being of Russian-speaking population of Crimea. Citizens of Crimea faced the choice of becoming an oppressed minority or severing their ties with the hostile regime to secure a future for themselves and their children. The decision to hold a referendum was made by legitimate local authorities. The independence of Crimea was proclaimed and an appeal to enter the Russian Federation was made based on the indisputable results of the popular vote. Standards of international law were fully observed as the right of nations to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter was exercised freely by the Crimeans. Crimea was recognized as an independent and sovereign state by Russia and on 18 March 2014 in Moscow the two countries signed a Treaty of Unification, under which the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became two new regions - subjects of the Russian Federation.


05.10.2017 - NATO increased military presence in Europe: road to nowhere (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

As part of the implementation of the conclusions of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, four multinational battlegroups have been deployed in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia with the total number of troops exceeding 4500. The idea of creating similar rotating units in Bulgaria and Romania in 2018 is being widely discussed by NATO members. If put together, these battlegroups amount to a motorized infantry brigade with heavy weapons.



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