17 October 2017
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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

17.04.2017

Ambassador Yakovenko answers the Daily Mail questions (17 April 2017)

1. Theresa May said today (Thursday) that Russia was on the “wrong side of the argument” when it comes to Syria, what is your response to that?

Answer: With all my respect for Prime Minister Theresa May I’ve got to say that the opposite is true. Even former British Ambassador in Damascus Peter Ford (on the BBC the other day) said that there is no moderate opposition alternative to the present government is Syria. That’s why there is urgent need for lasting ceasefire and political process among the Syrians, so that they can decide for themselves. It seems that our Western partners don’t like this approach and want to decide for the Syrians who will take part in the political process and who shall not. I think the reason is they know well what the choice of the Syrians is going to be after the 6 years of civil war.

2. Michael Fallon has accused Russia of being responsible for the chemical attacks by proxy, how do you respond to that?

Answer: We deplore such hostile rhetoric not supported by evidence. The problem is that our American partners tell us that they’ve got compelling evidence of the government forces’ culpability, but they cannot produce it, for it is secret. For them the issue of responsibility is closed. That explains their effort to pass a politicized UN Security Council resolution instead of a straightforward investigation by the OPCW on the site of the chemical incident. Of course, this mission cannot be impartial if it conducts its work in Turkey, with no direct access to the site and evidence.

For us, and Sergey Lavrov said that today in Moscow after meeting his Syrian and Iranian counterparts, this latest incident looks like an attempt to frame the Syrian Government. It reminds us, even by the type of the chemical agent used, the incident in August 2013 in Ghouta, which was supposed to provoke Western military intervention but failed to do so. Now the same stagecraft with the same purpose in mind. It is suspicious that the West wouldn’t even discuss the issue of CW use by opposition/terrorists. Those incidents were widely reported over the past few years. One shouldn’t forget either that the province of Idlib is controlled by the “Al-Nusra”, a UN proscribed terrorist organization, and groups affiliated with it.

3. What do you think about Boris Johnson’s decision not to travel to Russia?

Answer: It was unfortunate. But that is just another indication that there is no bilateral relationship of substance between our two nations, that is beyond mere diplomatic ones. Although Sergey Lavrov is considered to be the world’s Number One diplomat and for the good reason, the recent talks of Rex Tillerson in Moscow show that jousting with Sergey Lavrov at the table isn’t lethal.

4. Is this the worst relations have ever been between UK and Russia?

Answer: Yes, it is.

5. Are you concerned this could lead to World War Three?

Answer: I think the talk of WWIII this time was prompted by the media reports that the US Secretary of State was to deliver an ultimatum in Moscow. Fortunately, it turned out to be a mere suggestion on the part of the Americans. But in history, the very word “ultimatum” is closely associated with a declaration of war. For example, that was what German Ambassador Pourtales did when he met Foreign Minister Sazonov in July 1914. The Russian Minister rejected the German ultimatum and was handed over the Germane Note declaring war on Russia which fast turned into WWI. By the way, Pourtales knew what he was doing and burst into tears (Sazonov had even to comfort him), leaving both Notes intended for opposite outcomes of his demarche. So, the choice of words is very important, especially for the politicians.

6. What do you think about Britain’s deployment of 800 troops to Estonia?

Answer: We deplore that deployment for it raises tensions in Europe along the border between NATO and Russia. Russia doesn’t pose any threat to Estonia nor any other NATO member-state. That’s why all the talk of territorial defence sounds provocative, and with changing nature of war, outright ridiculous.

7. How would you respond to claims by the Public Administration Committee that Russia may have influenced the EU referendum by hacking the official voter registration website?

Answer: The Russian Government has nothing to do with this hacking if it ever took place at all. I regret to say that over the past few months we have seen various attempts to establish some connection between the June referendum’s outcome and Russia. It looks like Americanization of the issue. It doesn’t take lots of imagination to see that if the hollowing out of the new US presidency succeeds under the “Russian connection” pretext, Brexit will be the next target.

The interview, abridged, is published at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4417086/UK-relations-Russia-time-low.html




LATEST EVENTS

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.


14.07.2017 - Letter of Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov to the Herald newspaper, published 13.07.2017

I NOTE a rather questionable article by Mark McLaughlin (“Russians lurking near Faslane to eavesdrop on nuclear submarines", The Herald, July 11). Do you really believe that 145 million Russians would elect a leader who would command his nuclear submarines to chase someone's sole and lonely operative U-boat which is firing missiles in the opposite direction or Type 45 destroyers with faulty engines or an aircraft carrier without aircraft on it, all of them being located in Scottish waters?


14.07.2017 - Letter of Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov to the Herald newspaper, published 13.07.2017

I NOTE a rather questionable article by Mark McLaughlin (“Russians lurking near Faslane to eavesdrop on nuclear submarines", The Herald, July 11). Do you really believe that 145 million Russians would elect a leader who would command his nuclear submarines to chase someone\'s sole and lonely operative U-boat which is firing missiles in the opposite direction or Type 45 destroyers with faulty engines or an aircraft carrier without aircraft on it, all of them being located in Scottish waters?


03.07.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at breakfast event: Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia (3 July, British Museum)

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m happy that Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia exhibition is gaining momentum. We have all seen the excellent teaser reviews in the papers. They are a good sign, but one always expects world class events from the State Hermitage and the British Museum. The public expectations are high and no doubt they will be met.


15.06.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's speech at the British Library exhibition "Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths"

The exhibition "Hope, Tragedy, Myths" gives an excellent insight into the tragic events of 1917: why the revolution started, how it unfolded and evolved into the civil war. It explores the ideas behind the conflict and gives a comprehensive and accurate image. The exhibition gives a unique opportunity to see original documents related to the key personalities of the Russian history, and not only politicians - the section telling the story of the Russian emigration has valuable documents on Russian literature history.


13.06.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko’s speech at Russia’s National Day Reception (13 June 2017, London)

Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Dear friends, It is a privilege to welcome you all at my Residence on the occasion of Russia’s National Day. Thanks God for fine weather. Hope you will enjoy the time at our place. Ever since my country embarked upon the path of radical change 30 years ago, we have had a difficult, even painful journey. It was the price of profound transformation of a society, aspiring for freedom and justice. We abandoned any ideology as alien to common sense and real needs of real people. We have been seeing those tough decisions bearing fruit.


26.05.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s address at the RBCC Business Forum (25 May, “BMA House”, London)

It is my pleasure to welcome the participants of the annual Business Forum held under the auspices of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce. Whatever the political situation, the Chamber has always been successful in its mission to strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties (“Russo-British Chamber of Commerce” was registered on the 23rd of October, 1916, in London as a joint-stock company with the aim “to promote trade between the British and Russian Empires”).



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