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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

12.03.2017

Ambassador Yakovenko's interview for Sunday Express

Q: As a precursor to Boris Johnson's visit to Moscow in the coming weeks, what is your understanding of the nature of the visit and the purpose of the invitation - given that he will be the most senior UK Government official to visit the Kremlin in a good number of years? What message does Russia hope that the visit will send to the rest of the world? 

A: It is going to be the first working visit at Foreign Ministers' level in our bilateral relation over the past three years. We hope that it means that our British partners are interested in resumption of political dialogue.

Q: Historically, and prior to the Cold War, Russia and Britain had strong cultural ties. But these have become strained throughout the 21st century. What can be done to restore these close links? 

A: We did have strong cultural ties even at the time of the Cold War. These are an ultimate pillar of the relations between our two nations. That’s why both governments did their best not to politicize cultural relationship.

Q: There has been talk only recently that the Stare of UK-Russian relations is in its worst state in peacetime - what do you make of these claims and how do these claims fit with the timing of the in invitation? What would you hope the visit will do for Russian-UK relations?
Sources close to Boris say the visit signals anything but a cosier relationship with Russia and will not reset the relationship but that he will use the visit to deliver some tough messages on the Ukraine, for example, how will that go down? 

A: Of course, the Foreign Secretary’s visit comes at a time when our official bilateral relationship is at the lowest point after the Cold War end.  We don’t need a cozy relationship with Britain, just the one based on mutual respect and national interest. The rhetoric does matter, but without a positive agenda it becomes an end in itself.

Q: How misunderstood is Russia by the British people? How can we change this perception?

A: I think the British people deserve better than the present official and media propaganda campaign. At least, it should be toned down. And whatever evidence there is to support accusations against Russia, it should be made public.

Q: What did you make of Britain's decision to leave the European Union? Obviously there has recently been a recommitment by UK and EU ministers to the sanctions in place against Russia but could you ever see a time when Russia becomes a trading partner to the UK - what is your ultimate hope for Russia's relationship with the UK? Does the Russian government take a view on the merits or otherwise of Brexit?

A: We don’t have an official view of ‘Brexit’ – it’s none of our business. We deal with our partners as they are.

Q: Can Britain and Russia work together militarily to solve the crisis in Syria? What would need to happen to make that work?

A: As to the Syrian crisis, it doesn’t have a military solution. But the terrorist organisations active in Syria have got to be defeated militarily. It is up to the British government to decide what military assets it has at its disposal to commit to that fight.

Q: What do you make of the UK Government's current strategy towards Russia - "engage but beware"? 

A: It’s also up to the British government to determine how to proceed in its relations with Russia. Personally I think its either “engage” or “beware”. Any way, pragmatism, traditionally espoused by the British, is synonymous with commonsense and sound assessment of the situation.

Q: Should Britain fear a resurgent Russia? What about the Baltic states? What about the frequent Blackjack incursions? (nuclear bombers buzzing Britsih aerospace)

A: Russia is just emerging from a painful period of transition/reconstruction. It includes a state of our military. Russia poses threat to no one, including the Baltic states. I have heard of no incursions of our strategic aircraft into the British airspace. They have been flying on their routine missions past the British Isles. It is pure geography.

Q: Cyber attacks are being blamed on Russia, as is a new front in the propaganda war. What does the Russian govenrment say? Boris is apparently going to deliver a message about not interfering in any of the elections in the EU following the allegations about the US - what do you make of this? 

A: It sounds ridiculous that Russia could influence the Western nations’ domestic affairs. Certainly, we have our views to air on various issues of public interest.

As to the accusations of hacking, we now see, given the latest disclosure of the CIA files by Wikileaks, that the US intelligence services have got an army of their own hackers on the government payroll. It appears that CIA has a library of “fingerprints”/identities of various foreign hackers which could be used to put blame on others. That makes the murky business of hacking even murkier. 

Abridged text published on the newspaper website




LATEST EVENTS

20.06.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the Primakov Readings international forum, Moscow, May 30, 2018

Mr Dynkin, Colleagues and friends, Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for a new opportunity to speak at the international forum named after Academician Evgeny Primakov, an outstanding Russian statesman, academic and public figure. It is indeed a great honour for me. I consider Mr Primakov, with whom I worked at the Foreign Ministry in the latter half of the 1990s, my senior comrade and teacher, as probably do the majority of those who crossed paths with him at one point. Holding this representative conference under the aegis of one of Russia’s leading academic institutes – National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) that also bears Primakov’s name – has become a good tradition. The Primakov Readings have earned a reputation as a venue for serious dialogue of authoritative specialists on the most pressing issues of international politics and the global economy. Today, there is no lack of buzzwords used by politicians, experts and scientists to capture the current moment in international relations. They talk about the crisis of the “liberal world order” and the advent of the post-Western era, “hot peace” and the “new cold war”. The abundance of terms itself shows that there is probably no common understanding of what is happening. It also points to the fairly dynamic and contradictory state of the system of international relations that is hard to characterise, at least at the present stage, with one resounding phrase. The authors of the overarching theme of the current Primakov Readings probably handled the challenge better than others. In its title “Risks of an unstable world order’ they provocatively, and unacademically, combine the words “unstable” and “order”.


21.04.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's talking points at the Press Conference, 20 April 2018

Since we met last time a lot of events took place: - Military strikes of the United States, UK and France against Syria in violation of the international law - Mission by OPCW inspectors to Douma - Speech of Prime Minister May in Parliament in support of the British aggression against Syria - Special meeting of the OPCW Executive Council (18 April 2018) - New developments in the classified case of Salisbury poisoning of Skripal family - No meaningful developments on the Glushkov case - and Cyber security threats I plan to comment all these issues. And I will be happy to answer all our questions, if you have any.


17.03.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Mail on Sunday" (full text)

Q: Bearing in mind that the US, France and Germany have said they agree with Britain that all the evidence suggests the attacks in Salisbury were the responsibility of the Russian state, what credibility can be placed on the denials issued by the Russian Government? A:We don't know if UK presented any evidence to US, France and Germany - highly likely none - but if they did, why not present it through the channels outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention? Universal legal principle is presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof lies with the British Government. Its record includes the Iraq WMD dossier - you will remember that at some point doubting US and UK claims was considered a wild conspiracy theory. It is not any more.


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



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