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725 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     717 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

15.02.2016

Syria: Sorting the Mess Out (by Ambassador Yakovenko, for Evening Standard)

The recent meeting of the IGSS in Munich came up with the plan to try to find ways to reach a cessation of hostilities between Syrian patriotic opposition groups and the Government, while not compromising the cause of fighting Isis, Jebhat an-Nusra and other terrorists. The urgency of this plan was brought about by the successes of the Syrian army offensive, which, in view of the experts, has gradually built up a critical mass for a potential endgame in the civil war.
To have an idea of the sheer challenge facing the international community, one has to look back at how the Syrian situation evolved over the past four years. We witnessed the process of radicalization on the side of the opposition. Many Syrian groups bet on foreign terrorist organizations which were well supplied and financed by various regional players, who projected their domestic political agendas onto the Syrian battleground. It came to the point when the Americans gave up on finding among the opposition the people they could trust. According to J.Clapper, there are 1500 groups fighting the Syrian Government. We were told by our British interlocutors a few months ago that the situation in Syria was a complete mess. The situation was further complicated by emergence of Isis, an explosive mix of religious fanatics and the rump of the Iraqi Baathist regime, including Saddam Hussein officer corps.
In the meantime the US assembled their anti-Isis coalition of about 70 members, which delivered ineffective airstrikes at Isis targets for more than a year before Russia had to intervene with its Air Force. Since midsummer 2015 we were told by our Western partners that in October Damascus would fall to the Isis. What they were planning to do next we don’t know. Probably, to wash the extremists white and present them as a Sunni state in Iraq and Syria.
In these circumstances Russa’s interference was a critical game-changer, allowing the patriotic Syrian opposition to re-appropriate their cause of a democratic and secular Syria, which was hijacked by foreign terrorists and mutated towards a caliphate. It was only then, that the main international and regional actors could come together within IGSS to engage in a comprehensive effort to find a political solution in Syria and to eradicate terrorists. The scale of this ambitious dual task has never been underestimated, given the situation on the ground. That’s why the Group agreed to compile the lists of bona fide opposition and terrorist groups. This proved to be difficult because of the regional scheming. For example, the Syrian Kurds haven’t been invited to Geneva talks because of Ankara’s opposition.
Now it was agreed to set up a working group under US and Russian co-chairs to map out the opposition and in this way to try to separate the wheat from the chaff. That would allow patriotic opposition to sever their alliances with terrorists which, in fact, mortgaged the future of their country to alien ideological and domestic agendas. It would also unshackle the Syrian army on all fronts as the main force to fight the terrorists on the ground. Thus a common anti-terrorist front would come into being, while a political solution to the Syrian crisis is discussed between the Government and the opposition in Geneva. Neither Russian Air Force, nor US-led coalition will cease their airstrikes against terrorists and their infrastructure.
This is the real chance to resolve the Syrian problem which festered for too long poisoning the regional context.

An edited version of this article has been published at http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/alexander-yakovenko-russia-and-the-us-are-partners-in-trying-to-end-the-war-in-syria-a3180571.html.




LATEST EVENTS

02.12.2019 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's interview to Sputnik News Agency

On 27 November, 2019 Ambassador Andrei Kelin gave an interview to Sputnik News Agency during the V Russian-British Business Forum.


15.08.2019 - The liberal "end of history": what's next?

Following an interview with President Vladimir Putin published by the Financial Times a month ago, the issue of the future “liberal world order” in its idealistic version has been part of London’s political discussion agenda, with the emphasis being put on moral and political leadership in the present-day world.


09.07.2019 - What has happened to Western liberal idea? (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

In the recent interview with President Putin, the Financial Times seems to have launched a discussion on liberalism only at its own peril. Inadvertently, a real problem was touched upon, whose pressing nature is no longer denied by anyone in the West. The newspaper had to admit it in its Editorial of 29 June. Its authors claim that the threat to liberalism comes from within, including President Trump and his policies, Brexit and, certainly, the rise of “populist nationalism”. They refer to voters’ disillusionment with liberalism and loss of confidence in the economic system and trust in political elites. The latter are invited to redouble their efforts to take into consideration issues raised by voters and “to renew liberalism”.


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?



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