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Exclusive interview given by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Russia 24 TV-channel, Moscow, 18 July 2014

Question: I cannot but ask you about the most topical event – the plane of Malaysia Airlines, which was shot down above the territory of Ukraine. How can this affect Russia? Kiev started to immediately accuse our country of supplying air defence systems to the militia. How would you reply to these accusations?

Sergey Lavrov: Our position was stated quite clearly by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, who requested an independent international investigation from the very beginning. We have been the first to do this. Yesterday, during his phone conversation with the US President Barack Obama, it was Vladimir Putin, who informed the US leader about the Malaysian jet, which had just been shot down. We will insist on an extremely objective, open and independent investigation and will be ready to make our own contribution. We expect that the authorities of the country, in the territory of which this tragedy has taken place, will show their initiative.

As to the affirmations we hear from Kiev, which are almost accusing Russia of doing this, I have not heard any trustworthy statements from representatives of the Kiev authorities in the last months. They say whatever they want. For example, President Petro Poroshenko stated that the Ukrainian army would never receive any orders to do anything, which would create a threat to civilians, that cities and towns would not be subjected to shooting, because this, as he pompously said, was based on the idea of “high traditions of noble Ukrainian warriors”. You have seen with your own eyes what is happening to populated areas in the South-East, its cities, infrastructure and civilians. The entire world was able to see this thanks to you.

There are plenty of other examples. Kiev is continuing with this stream of lies about these events – they accuse everyone apart from themselves. Frankly speaking, I believe that this disaster will bring down to earth all those, who have evidently made a case for war, and turned away from all their obligations with regard to working within a political process and the appeals to come to their senses which we hear from Europe and hope for Washington’s support in this also. We are telling this like it is – we say this directly to our US colleagues. We do not see any desire by the United States to send any signals to Kiev in favour of a negotiated solution.

This plane accident should probably make them stop, look around and think. The militia propose a cease fire for the period of the international investigation. We want international experts to come to the crash site as soon as possible, they should receive black boxes immediately, which contrary to another of Kiev’s statements we are not going to remove and violate the norms existing in the international community for such occasions. This should be done by the ICAO and those states, which were directly involved in this tragedy and whose nationals were on-board – the Netherlands, Malaysia, as well as Ukraine and so on. It is good that the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko announced that an international commission would be created immediately. This must be done in such a way that nobody can doubt the sincerity and readiness to conduct a comprehensive investigation.

Question: As to the investigation and the statement by Petro Poroshenko. Literally only several hours after everybody had learned about the crash he made a statement that this was a terrorist attack. I will not ask you where he obtained this information only a few hours after the crash – without any investigation. It is clear that we have more politics than expert opinion here. Do you believe that such quick statements can affect the group, which will carry out this investigation? Can it be a direct instruction what should be found and what should not?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a political order. That is why I have said that I welcome the statement by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko about the immediate creation of an international commission. However, it should be created immediately.

Of course, any attempts to state that this was a terrorist attack, to give a signal to Ukrainian investigators that they should be guided by this in their work is an inadmissible pressure on the commission’s activities.

I can provide many quotes showing an absolute lack of desire even to consider that the Ukrainian authorities can do something wrong or insufficiently. The main thing is (Vladimir Putin emphasised this once again during his talk with Barack Obama) not to attempt to keep saying that Russia must do something, but to look into the heart of the problem, which is that the Ukrainian authorities absolutely do not want to sit at the negotiation table with those, who do not accept the military coup of February and reject any attempts to talk to the Russian-speaking South-East from positions of force, who want one thing only, their legal rights to be respected, they want to sit at the negotiation table and start agreeing on the structure of the Ukrainian state including the rights all its nationals will have. This is not a demand. Broadly this is a request to the Kiev authorities to do what they signed up to on the 21 February, when they were the opposition.

Let me remind you that the first clause of that Agreement, which was certified by Polish, German and French foreign ministers, recommended the creation of a national unity government. This is the main thing. After that, such a government would start constitutional reform, based on which elections would be held. Everything is clear, logical and constructive. Unfortunately, that agreement was broken with the connivance of Europeans or at least because they did not want to insist that the things they had signed up to should be respected by the former opposition, and now the current authorities.

After that, there was another attempt to return the situation to a constructive dialogue. There was a meeting between the Russian, Ukrainian and US foreign ministers and the European Union High Representative on the 17 April in Geneva. The Statement based on the results of the meeting states: an end to all violence and to start, I quote, an “inclusive, transparent and open constitutional process with the participation of all the Ukrainian regions”.

Since the time when we brought this document to the UN Security Council and the OSCE asking them to approve it, because heads of the foreign services of the United States, the European Union, Russia and Ukraine signed up to it, we have not found any support. They said to us – “ we prefer to approve the peace plan by Petro Poroshenko”, who is in fact ignoring the Geneva Statement and the principles of openness of the constitutional process and equal participation of the regions. The plan contains an appeal to lay down weapons, and those, who will not do this, will be wiped out. And then – if you surrender, we will decide, whether you receive amnesty or not. While those, whom we believe to have committed severe crimes, will not receive any amnesty. As to the authorisations – we will tell you what, how and when we decentralise.

The Ukrainian leaders are not conducting any constitutional reform. They have made up a draft, the text of which was sent to the Verkhovna Rada. It was never shown to the public, regions do not know of it. In parallel, there were the attempts to send it to the Council of Europe attempting to obtain an opinion from this body and to use this opinion as a cover and say that no consultations are necessary, because the “enlightened European community” has confirmed that everything is OK. This is the nature of the problem. Vladimir Putin keeps telling this to Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Francois Hollande and other conversation partners. The last time he did this was in Rio de Janeiro, where the President of Russia had a detailed talk about this with the German Chancellor.

We emphasis that it is impossible to request of us only to force the militia to, in fact, put up with being finished off or surrender at the discretion of the winner. I talked about this with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and still want to get the answers.

There were elections in Iraq, which brought a party headed by the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, to victory (he confirmed his authorisations having become the Prime Minister). Why does the United States deem it possible to persuade him to share his power with those, who have not accepted the result of the elections in Iraq? Why doesn’t the United States reconcile or attempt to reconcile each and everyone irrespective of the elections (like they did in the Republic of South Sudan, in the creation of which Washington invested a lot of effort and seemed to be the main initiator of this process)? They have literally forced the President to put up with his main opponent.

There are many such examples in Africa and in the Middle East. While in Ukraine – there is no dialogue with the opposition. The official position of the United States, which they announced to the entire world, is that it is impossible to talk to separatists, and support the Russian initiative in the UN Security Council in favour of truce and a dialogue, because it is impossible to put the government and separatists on one board. This is such a double standard that I do not even need to prove that such an approach leads to a deadlock. There is no answer to this question. The prejudiced nature means only one thing – Washington decided to support the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, in his military suppression of those, who do not agree to him. This is a criminal decision, and I hope that it will be revised. At the level of the President and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we explained to our partners that this will mean that the West has taken on tremendous responsibility for the fate of the Ukrainian state.

Question: An emergency session devoted to the shot down Malaysian jet will be held in the UN Security Council today. What do you expect from this session? Maybe Russia will make a proposition with regard to some kind of a resolution?

Sergey Lavrov: Occasionally it happens that an event has been announced quite a while ago, and then something happens and everybody looks at this event in view of this. This is a planned session of the UN Security Council, which was agreed last week, when nobody could even consider the possibility of such a tragedy.

Question: But now its topic has changed?

Sergey Lavrov: The topic will change; this problem will be added, to be precise. We are in favour of the coordination of a statement, which should naturally extend our deepest condolence to all those, who have lost their family and friends and to the Malaysian government. I am convinced that this will be done. The Security Council should probably speak in favour of the immediate start of an independent, impartial, free and open investigation. We speak in favour of such an initiative and decision within the framework of the OSCE, and a session of the Permanent Council should be held today.

Question: Will this disaster affect the meeting of the Contact Group, which was scheduled a long time ago and to the rescheduling of another truce date. We agreed about this at the beginning of June in Berlin. The Contact Group is still not able to gather. It seems that this disaster will postpone the meeting once again. What is on its way?

Sergey Lavrov: There was a video conference last night. For obvious reasons, it was focused exclusively on the situation with the shot down plane. We need to resolve the most complicated issues of access for international experts, identification and transportation of the bodies to their countries of origin – these are issues which purely, logically cannot be resolved without close interaction between the militia and the Kiev authorities.

Question: Is there a dialogue?

Sergey Lavrov: If some logistics are to be requested from the Russian Federation, we have expressed our readiness to provide all kinds of assistance. There are reasons to expect that another video conference will be held in the near future, where truce issues will be discussed. Now this truce is more necessary than ever, taking into consideration the investigation, which should embrace a large territory – as you understand, the remains are scattered in a large territory. I hope a lot that this tragedy will simply allow us to forget about political ambitions and unite everybody around the task of building-up a dialogue and renewing relations between the South-East and Kiev based on the principles agreed in the Geneva Statement regarding the need to start an equal constitutional process.

Question: Why is the truce still not announced? On the 2 July you, your Ukrainian colleague Mr Pavlo Klimkin, German and French foreign ministers agreed and signed a paper, that the date of the truce should be announced by the 5 July. Why hasn’t this been done?

Sergey Lavrov: It is difficult to say. The truce was intended to be an agreed truce. However, four foreign ministers are not enough to make this happen in practice. It is important that those who really confront each other, press their triggers and buttons, and agree on the truce date and its parameters. Figuratively speaking, everything is frozen, within 24 hours some moved away to a kilometre, some to half a kilometre, etc. It is important that the people “on the ground” feel that the process is safe and they are not disarming unilaterally. Unfortunately (I return to the ability of our Ukrainian colleagues to agree again), after the Berlin statement was agreed, we started to hear voices from Kiev that according to this document the militia must accept the “peace plan by the President Petro Poroshenko”, which is the way to a truce. This is not so. The Statement contains no mention of the “peace plan by Petro Poroshenko”. They are also saying that before the truce takes effect, they should exchange hostages. It is also not so.

The Statement adopted in Berlin on the 2 July contains a phrase that we appeal to the liberation of all the hostages immediately; this is not a condition of the truce. I do not believe that there should be conditions attached to saving human lives and ending the shooting. During my phone conversation with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister I asked him what we were to make of these interpretations of the Berlin statement. Pavlo Klimkin assured me that the Berlin Statement is not subject to interpretation. We need to recheck everything constantly.

After the Berlin Statement was adopted, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, turned to the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, during their meeting in Rio de Janeiro to use additional efforts to push the constructive process in Ukraine “on the ground”. That time we made significant corrections to our position. The position reflected in the Berlin Statement of four foreign ministers (of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) states that after the truce is established, we will be able to deploy OSCE observers at the Russian side of those border crossings, the Ukrainian part of which are controlled by the militia. Ukrainian border guards can also be invited to these checkpoints so that jointly with OSCE observers they can watch how Russian customs officers and border guards work in checkpoints and that nothing prohibited crosses these checkpoints.

After his talk to Angela Merkel in Rio de Janeiro, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, made a goodwill gesture and took the decision not to wait until a truce is established and to invite OSCE observers to the checkpoints concerned immediately. We made such a proposition in the OSCE Headquarters in Vienna and frankly speaking, we thought that they would take hold of it and make a decision immediately –and the issue would be settled, the observers would go and watch the functioning of these checkpoints, and observe that nothing prohibited crosses them. We were surprised that they started to ask us questions why this only concerns OSCE observers and why there are no Ukrainians there. We explained that this proposition will enter into force after the truce is established, and we are doing this in advance. Some of our partners were “mumbling” in dissatisfaction that we need to “spread this invitation to all the borders, not just these two checkpoints”. We want everybody to be polite. Of course, our western partners have intensified their position, which usually make European nationals different, and attempt to promote a unilateral approach exclusively by force, to make everything happen as they want it to happen. Russia has made many goodwill gestures, which they attempt to disregard.

Along with that, during all this time nobody has ever said to the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, in public that he must observe the obligations undertaken by Ukraine – to start a constitutional dialogue, which would not be a parody and imitation, but a true negotiation process, which is aimed at the reinforcement of the Ukrainian state based on the principles, which are acceptable for all its regions and nationals.

Question: Not so long ago Russian populated areas became victims of the conflict in the East of Ukraine and were shot by Ukrainian artillery. How will the Russian Federation respond to this, because such a shooting can be repeated? We understand that the artillery can hit us again.

Sergey Lavrov: Firstly, we have already warned that if this continues, we will take necessary measures. I am convinced that if it becomes clear that this has been done intentionally, such an event should be considered as a one-time action. However, according to our current estimates, this was the work of unprofessional operators a one-off– such things can happen during a war. We have seriously warned our Ukrainian colleagues.

On a practical scale, we want the OSCE observers, whom we invite to checkpoints, not only to observe the work of Russian border guards and customs officers, but also to assess and report to Vienna the events around these checkpoints, including from the point of view of security threats created as a result of military actions in the Ukrainian territory. This will also contribute to the better discipline of those, who have their finger on the trigger on the other side of the border.

Question: Has the OSCE made a decision about these commissions?

Sergey Lavrov: Three OSCE representatives were sent to the Rostov checkpoints Donetsk and Gukovo, whose task it is to assess how all of this looks in practice and how many observers are necessary so that they can stay there 24 hours a day (for example, in three shifts). I hope that a respective OSCE decision will be made and observers will come by the end of this week. We will be delighted to see them. Of course, Russia assumes responsibility for their security in our territory, however, this does not concern shooting by Ukraine. This will be reflected in the mandate of these observers and our obligations.

Question: We all understand why the land military operation was started by the Israeli militaries in the Gaza Strip, because of which the civilians living there are suffering. What is the position of Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: Yesterday, the Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed this topic with the US President, Barack Obama. It was touched upon by Vladimir Putin. Several hours before his flight to Latin America, the President of Russia talked to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. In all these contacts we confirmed that we understand Israel’s security concerns as a result of chaotic, un targeted shooting, in fact, hand-made missiles. These missiles hit residential neighbourhoods, including several missiles which struck within a kilometre of our Embassy in Tel Aviv. Being aware how serious it is for Israeli, at the same time we understand the importance of preventing the spiral of violence according to the “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” principles.

Russia actively supported Egypt’s initiative made a few a days ago, which was supported by Israel. We think that it is not yet too late for Hamas and other radical groups, which are not subordinate to it (there are such groups in the Gaza Strip) to respond to this initiative. We are deeply concerned about the beginning of the land operation, about the response by the Hamas and the course of the future events.

I will highlight again – we expect that Egypt will play the leading role. Generally, we welcome the return of Cairo to the political stage of this region, the country lacked this, when it was being torn apart by internal contradictions. As to the appeasement of the situation around the Gaza Strip and the possibility for Egypt to be a mediator between this territory and Israel; Egypt’s participation in general in the reunion of Palestinian camps based on the Arab Peace Initiative, not based on their confrontation with Israel, but based on a dialogue with this country, we believe that it is valuable and we intend to support this actively.

There was a period, when the United States postponed the so-called quartet of international mediators for a year, having said that they would reconcile Israelis and Palestinians by starting negotiations about their final status. We failed – it is hard to do this alone, although we supported the mission by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry.

Now, when many people say that it is necessary to renew the multilateral format of quartet’s (Russian, US, UN, EU) activities, it seems to me that it is time to return to our long-standing idea that this format should be completed by representatives of the League of Arab States – so that it does not just decide something within its own circle, and then invite Arabs and tell them what the quartet had agreed about, but instead started to work together with the Arabs, primarily Egypt, to develop solutions. The Arabs initially had to be the part of the initial development process. In my opinion, now the awareness of the demand for such a step is widely recognised.

Question: Sergey Viktorovich, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin completed his visit to several Latin American countries. Many things happened for the first time during this visit – in particular, this was the first trip of the Russian leader to Nicaragua and Argentina. When the USSR broke down, Latin America in fact moved to the periphery of Russian foreign policy. Judging by this visit and the number of signed agreements, is something changing radically now?

Sergey Lavrov: I think that there are serious changes, but they do not happen at once. This is a process, which started in the last 10-12 years, when we started to reconsider the events after the breakdown of the Soviet Union. Largely speaking, at that time we had no means or time to maintain ties with our friends all over the world – we were dealing with our domestic problems. We recall how serious it all was.

In the last 10 years we have been actively returning to Latin America, Africa, Asia – the regions, which are our old friends, who recall their solidarity with our country in the period of fighting in their countries for their independence. I think that capital, which is also measured by human relations, is quite in demand today, both parties need them.

I would like to note an interesting nuance. Many western mass media (including in some neighbouring countries, in particular in Ukraine) started to assess the visit by the President Vladimir Putin to Latin America as an attempt to prove that Russia is not in isolation at all. The pretext was that we started to spasmodically search where to go. I think that everybody understands quite well that the BRICS summit is not an ad hoc event, it is an annual event, which was agreed long ago (at the previous summit last year) and for which there were serious preparations.

We have far-flung mechanisms, which ensure the work of this body, –in about two dozens formats, including sectorial ministers and representatives of other agencies and foreign policy interaction.

As the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, said at the final press conference the main content of the BRICS summit was the coordination of agreements regarding the creation of a new Bank for Development with a capital of up to 100 billion US dollars (its share capital is slightly lower, but in the end the countries have undertaken obligations to raise it to 100 billion US dollars). A pool of reserve currencies was created for the same amount.

The President assessed these agreements as the implementation of earlier scheduled plans. Everything that has happened confirms the interest of all the BRICS countries for more independence, the creation of tools, which will allow them to depend on objective processes, their own needs and in the interest of mutual cooperation rather than the rules, which were made in the epoch, when these countries had no sufficient economic and financial weight.

Question: Sergey Viktorovich, we will return to the topic of BRICS, yet we would like to know more detail on Latin America, which North American, in particular, the United States, call their “back yard”. This term is debatable and probably even offensive. However, it is evident that the influence of the United States is strong here. Please tell me whether you feel any counteraction from the United States to such a development of Russian-Latin American relations? For example, when I was in Nicaragua, Laureano Ortega (son of the President of this country Daniel Ortega) said to me that the United States are extremely unhappy with Russia’s decision to deploy its military refuelling base in Nicaragua. Can you provide other examples?

Sergey Lavrov: The BRICS summit was accompanied by bilateral visits of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, to Cuba, Nicaragua and Argentina, as well as the so-called outreach events, where Brazilians invited all the members of UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), not only heads of state of this association. There are talks, protocol events, during which I at least contacted my colleagues – foreign ministers of these countries, who accompanied their presidents. Almost all of them said to me in a trustworthy way that on the eve of these meetings Americans sent signals using different channels suggesting that there is no reason to go there. They perceived this in a philosophical way and answered with Latin American dignity that it is their own business, and they will develop relations with those, whom they consider to be fit.

Russia is a very prospective partner, which is seen as mutually beneficial. Latin American countries have many proposals to our countries. Why should we tread on our own toes and deter our natural interests?

Question: So, this is not a “back yard”.

Sergey Lavrov: Let’s say, a flight from New York to Brasilia lasts almost as long as the flight from New York to Moscow. From Moscow to Brasilia is longer by half. Everything is relative even from the points of view of arithmetic and geography. This region is not a “back yard”, it is a whole world, a whole continent with a culture, which was to a decisive extent formed by the Spanish, Portugese, but also a culture, which largely preserved the traditions, which existed there before Europeans came.

Question: There are many Russians in Argentina as well.

Sergey Lavrov: Not only in Argentina. There is a place, a small town, in Uruguay, which is mostly populated by our compatriots. This is the only spot of this kind in Latin America. When I visited Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, I met these people. They stand out by their sufficiently favourable diaspora, they have normal social and economic situation and their household is well set. Yet, they maintain their Russian culture, and teach their children. We are now helping them to set up more effective and wide teaching of Russian, providing them with books.

Therefore, Latin America is an entire continent and it was probably fashionable to call it the “back yard” of the United States in the epoch, when there were not as many communication possibilities. But the main thing is that their disposition entirely does not fit the notion of “residents of a back yard”.

At a summit level meeting, where all South American countries, UNASUR members, participated, there was an active discussion of the situation in the global economy and finance. The President of Argentina, Ms. Cristina de Kirchner, promoted the idea of the development of a generally acceptable universal code of conduct on financial markets, including those related to default. You know that this country faced a non-standard situation, when, having agreed on restructuring of their debts with everybody except some insignificant number of creditors, they faced an attack by this minority, which turned to a US court, which ruled that Argentina must pay these creditors “in full”, i.e. much more than pocket change, which they paid for Argentinian securities. I will not go into details.

Question: To be noted, that court decision was made in these days.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, on the eve of the BRICS summit. This issue was topical at the outreach event with participation of BRICS and UNASUR countries. Argentina, with absolutely solidary supporting other states, spoke in favour of making order in this area, as well as in favour of preventing those decisions such as the restructuring of debts of sovereign states becoming a hostage of somebody’s national judicial system and were not forced into it, but were decided based on generally agreed rules.

Question: Or at least within the framework of international organisations.

Sergey Lavrov: This will be a very acute topic at the G20 summit, which is scheduled for this November in Australia. All UNASUR and BRICS members supported this initiative, which is aimed at the coordination of generally acceptable approaches.

Another thing, at the meeting with Presidents of BRICS countries, UNASUR members welcomed the Declaration, which was adopted in Fortaleza, which apart from financial and economic sections was formulated in the spirit, which I have just mentioned, and contains extensive material devoted to international affairs. In fact, there is no serious conflict, which would not be mentioned in this document. It is not just a list – the text is made up in the context of searching for solutions and settlement in Africa, in the Middle East and North Africa, in Afghanistan and in other regions.

BRICS presidents ordered their foreign ministers and foreign services in general within the framework of their interaction in the UN and in other international bodies to set up regular coordination of actions and exchange of assessments, as well as the development of joint initiatives, if possible. This is also a step forward. We also agreed that ambassadors of BRICS countries abroad would meet regularly and exchange opinions on the situation in the countries, where they are accredited. This will also become a serious and qualitative advancement in the area of our foreign policy interaction.

Question: Does this mean that BRICS, which started, in fact, not as an official body, but as an informal club of states, became a financial and economic association first, and now it is also becoming a political association as well?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, to a known extent. To be noted, qualitative “ripening”, “maturation” and “manhood” of BRICS is observed in all areas. This is demonstrated in the activities of G20 in financial and economic areas.

There is no secret that after our G8 partners decided not to meeting in this format, they revived G7, which largely shaped the future of the entire world in terms of finances and economic a while ago, but now, when G20 was created, it lost its decisive role, which was handed over to G20, within the framework of which our western partners have to agree with us, other BRICS members and other states, which are part of this association and make up the totality of leading centres of economic growth and financial power. In the format of G20, G7 countries actively attempt to “grab the biggest piece of the pie”, in particular, within the framework of the preparations for the summit in Brisbane, Australia. However, BRICS members in the G20 have enough allies. For example, countries like Argentina, Mexico and Indonesia are absolutely in solidary with BRICS participants on issues of reforming the international market and the financial system. Incidentally, one of the central items on the agenda of the next summit this November in Australia will be the request to implement the agreements about the reforming of the system of quotes in the International Monetary Fund (they were reached in autumn 2010 and now are understated by our western partners). In this situation, the BRICS jointly with its fellow thinkers, whom I have already listed (there are other countries having the same position as well), will try to make our partners negotiate

Question: Do I understand you right that the G20 has split into two camps, two cores – the G20 and the BRICS.

Sergey Lavrov: From the very beginning of its existence the G20 represented traditional interests of the western economy, having decisive positions in the international financial systems, in the IMF and in the World Bank, on the one hand. On the other hand, there are growing young economies, countries, which have accumulated their financial power, and their political power comes along with it. This is a natural situation, when we should search for compromises. The reforms agreed upon 4 years ago are aimed at the gradual increase of the role of new young developing markets in the IMF and World Bank management system. The current majority is attempting to confront this, although they have not the economic grounds or any arguments to do this. I repeat, these decisions have been made and they should be implemented.


26.01.2018 - Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.

17.01.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the unveiling of memorial plaque in Sayes Court Park

Dear Mayor, Dear Councillors, Lady Joan, Ladies and gentlemen, It is now 320 years ago that a truly remarkable man set foot in Deptford. As you know, the Russian Tsar Peter, later named the Great, visited Western Europe in 1697—1698 under the nickname of Peter Mikhailov, with his Grand Embassy. He was eager to find out about the latest achievements in science and technology and create new diplomatic alliances. Of course, England couldn’t escape his attention. He mostly studied shipbuilding at the famous Deptford Dockyard, but he also met King William III, and, reportedly, Isaac Newton. Peter’s landlord, the famous John Evelyn, was also a respected scientist – a founder member of the Royal Society.

13.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am pleased to welcome you to the Russian Embassy at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee. It’s a common knowledge, that football is the most popular game in the world. It is an honour for us to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in the history of our country. I believe that those who come to Russia to support their national teams will leave with unforgettable memories.

08.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo (7 December 2017)

25.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the reception at the Embassy dedicated to Russian Film Week (24 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding Russian opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky who passed away this week. In 2015 he gave a concert in this very hall. I am delighted to welcome you at our reception dedicated to the Russian Film Week and the environmental causes it champions. This year their charity partner is World Wide Fund for Nature, which runs many projects in Russia in coordination and with support of the Russian Government. Russia has a unique, fascinating wildlife. A number of this week’s films show the natural beauty of our land and are sure to raise awareness of how fragile this beauty is. We appreciate the WWF effort in Russia and worldwide and call on everybody to become a supporter, especially this year, marked as Year of Ecology in Russia.

20.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the launch of the Russian Film Week (19 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, It is a pleasure for me to be at the opening of the second edition of the Russian Film Week here in London – which this year also spans to Cambridge and Edinburgh.

16.10.2017 - Unpublished letter to the Editor of The Times (sent 12 October)

Sir, If British MPs are free to speak out, wherever they wish, on any issue, why try to block their freedom of speech (“Helping Putin”, 11 October)? If a TV channel wants (and is legally bound) to present different points of view, why slam those who express these views? If the mere act of giving an interview to foreign media amounts to high treason, why does The Times interview Russian politicians without fear? And finally - while MPs critical of Russia are welcome guests on the Russian TV channel RT, does your paper give the same treatment to those critical of the paper’s owner? Konstantin Shlykov Press Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation

25.09.2017 - PRESENTATION by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Christian Future of Europe Conference 22 September 2017, London

Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, dear Mr. Ambassador, conference organizers and participants, I cordially greet all of those gathered today at the Russian Embassy in London to partake in this conference dedicated to the question of the future of Christianity in Europe. This topic is not only not losing any of its relevance, but is resounding ever anew. Experts believe that today Christianity remains not only the most persecuted religious community on the planet, but is also encountering fresh challenges which touch upon the moral foundations of peoples' lives, their faith and their values. Recent decades have seen a transformation in the religious and ethnic landscape of Europe.

23.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at presentation of the book "The Mystery of Repentance" held at the Russian Embassy

I’m glad to welcome you here to a discussion of two prominent hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England, on Christian future of Europe.

12.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the exhibition opening (“Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia” 12 September, British Museum)

Today the British Museum and the State Hermitage of Saint-Petersburg are once again proving their unique world class by bringing a whole new civilization to London. Ancient, and almost mythical, but creative, powerful and very different from what we have all known about antiquity – the Scythians.

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