9 April 2020
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767 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     759 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during the joint news conference following Russian-Italian talks between foreign and defence ministers in the two-plus-two format, Rome, February 18, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to express my gratitude for the hospitality we traditionally receive in Italy.

I completely agree that the fourth joint meeting between the Russian and Italian foreign and defence ministers was held in a constructive manner. The last time we met in this format was in 2013. We find that resuming work in this format is timely and important.

The meeting was preceded by separate talks between the foreign and defence ministers. Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and I were also received by Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte.

Following our talks, we came to share the opinion that it was necessary to cooperate within this mechanism, which will make it possible to carry out a deep and detailed analysis of the key modern problems both from the diplomatic and military-political points of view. Today we have outlined a number of areas in which we will try to take joint or coordinated steps.

We focused on security in the Euro-Atlantic region. The situation in this sphere remains unsatisfactory. We believe this is a direct result of the policy of “containing” Russia pursued by the US and several allies, including through recklessly expanding NATO, strengthening the Alliance’s eastern flank, and bringing the military infrastructure immediately adjacent to the Russian border. In this context, we have once again recalled the need to implement the corresponding decision of the 2010 OSCE Summit in Astana signed by all the OSCE members at the highest level, which includes the statement about commitment to the concept of comprehensive and indivisible security based on cooperation. I think no proof is needed that NATO members’ actions are at odds with this statement.

We had a detailed discussion of strategic stability, including issues related to the US withdrawal from the Intermediate‑Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty). We reaffirmed Russia’s readiness, reiterated by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, not to deploy missile systems in regions unless similar US-produced missiles are deployed there. We drew our colleagues’ attention to the fact that last autumn President of Russia Vladimir Putin sent a message to all the NATO leaders as well as leaders of several other countries in order to call for a joint moratorium on the deployment of such systems, but most of them have not given concrete responses yet. President of France Emmanuel Macron was the only exception. I noted with satisfaction that several days ago Foreign Minister of Italy Luigi Di Maio also said in an interview that Italy saw no reason to decline President Putin’s invitation for a dialogue and called for accepting it. We welcome this approach.

We discussed the developments around the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). As you know, there are problems with its prolongation. The US does not reply to our numerous suggestions to do it right now. We spoke about the Comprehensive Nuclear‑Test‑Ban Treaty (CTBT), which the US officially decided not to ratify. All of this, of course, does not create a favourable atmosphere in the context of preparations for the next Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons scheduled to take place in a couple of months.

We had a productive exchange of views on urgent regional issues. In part, we have the same view on the need to ensure the peace settlement in Libya through broad national dialogue. We discussed ways of implementing decisions made at the Berlin Conference last January. Russia considers it essential that further progress should be based only on motivating the Libyan sides to agree to specific practical steps. Naturally, it is necessary to respect the prerogatives of the UN Security Council. We agreed to maintain a close dialogue on Libya and hold special consultations on this issue in the foreseeable future – in a few weeks.

As for Syria, we have a common view on the need to ensure consistent and effective work the Constitutional Committee, launched in Geneva in October 2019, with the decisive role of the Astana format guarantors. Today, it is also essential to eliminate the remaining hotbeds of terrorism and create conditions for the return of refugees and IDPs. It is necessary to restore the destroyed infrastructure for this purpose. We drew the attention of our colleagues to the need to urge the international community to respond to the situation “on the ground” and start rendering real aid to the Syrians in resolving humanitarian issues without politicisation, discrimination or preconditions.

We have a common position on Arab-Israeli settlement that can only be reached through negotiation on a universally recognised foundation of international law and without unilateral moves.

We reviewed the situation in Ukraine through the prism of full and consistent implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures that was approved by UN Security Council Resolution 2202. We quoted specific facts explaining to our Italian friends how the implementation of the Minsk agreements is artificially slowed down. 

We emphasized the need for close coordination of efforts in countering common challenges and threats, including terrorism. In this context, we noted the importance of the bilateral interdepartmental working group on combatting new challenges and threats. It will hold a regular meeting in Moscow this year.

We spoke in detail about relations between Russia and the European Union. We are grateful to our Italian colleagues for their constructive position on this issue, which is aimed at normalising these relations. 

We reviewed the situation around Iran’s nuclear programme. We welcome Italy’s interested approach to this problem and its desire to contribute to a settlement. I am convinced that these efforts are most useful.

Needless to say, we also spoke about cooperation in the UN, in part, in the context of the forthcoming 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. As you know, this victory made it possible to establish the unique global organisation.

During the bilateral conversation with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio we talked about the current items on the bilateral agenda with respect to the agreements reached at the top level. We reviewed the schedule for political meetings and the work of the mechanisms created by our countries. We are beginning to restore their activities at a fairly steady pace. The High Russian-Italian interparliamentary commission will meet in Rome in May. We look forward to seeing Mr Di Maio at the INNOPROM-2020 exhibition in Yekaterinburg next July, where Italy will act as our partner. Naturally, we expect to see the traditionally representative Italian delegation at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in June. The Russian-Italian Council on Economic, Industrial and Financial Cooperation session, which is headed by Mr Di Maio on the Italian side, is scheduled for the second half of the year in Russia.

In general, I think our talks were useful. I would like to thank our hosts once again for their hospitality and productive discussions.

Question: The European Union said – and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio confirmed today – that a mission will be established in Libya, including ground forces, ships, and aircraft. How does Russia see this step? Does this mean a re-run of the scenario of NATO intervention in Libya?

Sergey Lavrov: We spoke in detail about the decision adopted at yesterday’s meeting of the EU Ministerial Council. Our position is that we should scrupulously observe UN Security Council decisions and not take any steps that could be seen as disrespect for the United Nations supreme body’s prerogatives in maintaining international peace and security. The explanations that our Italian friends gave us about the EU’s plans to use their naval, air and even ground forces to help enforce the arms embargo in Libya have made a few things clear. Our colleagues also promised they would provide a more detailed and more specific concept that underlies this EU decision. Of course, if this is about compliance with the UN Security Council decisions – which it is – then the mechanisms for implementing such decisions must absolutely be coordinated with the UN Security Council; this is self-evident to us, and we conveyed this idea to them today.

The same approach was very clearly indicated by President of Russia Vladimir Putin during the preparation and holding of the Berlin Conference on Libya – no national or regional mechanisms can be used for these purposes simply at the request of a party or group of countries. Our Italian colleagues have assured us that they understand this. In this regard, we mentioned the 2011 situation during our discussion, when the UN Security Council adopted a resolution authorising a no-fly zone over Libya and inviting all interested countries to participate in enforcing it.

That was an invitation to a gross abuse by the North Atlantic Alliance of the trust that the UN Security Council had in those willing to help enforce its decisions, as the no-fly zone meant a ban on Muammar Gaddafi’s use of combat aircraft, and they remained grounded. That is, the no-fly zone was established just as the UN Security Council required. At the same time, interested countries, such as NATO member states, began an aggression against the Libyan state citing this same UN Security Council resolution. I am far from comparing the intentions of Italy and its partners in the European Union to enforce the arms embargo with those actions by the NATO member countries. We perfectly understand the lawful, legitimate, and obvious reasons why Italy wants to streamline this matter, and the reasons the EU countries are interested in preventing weapons from being delivered to Libya illegally. I am confident that by contacting the UN Security Council, our European colleagues will be able to reach a solution that will suit them and ensure compliance with international law, including the prerogatives of the UN Security Council.

Question: After the resumption of the 2+2 negotiating format, will intergovernmental consultations between the two countries also be resumed?

Sergey Lavrov: We have a mechanism for interstate consultations, co-chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that includes a number of ministers. They have not been held for several years, but the mechanism is in place and has not been cancelled. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, we are now gradually but confidently restoring the mechanisms of interaction that existed between our countries. This is another example – the revival of the 2+2 format. I know that we will achieve the full function of all the instruments that have worked effectively in our bilateral relations and have brought mutually beneficial results.


07.04.2020 - President Vladimir Putin's message to Prime Minister of Great Britain Boris Johnson

Dear Prime Minister, Let me express my sincere support for you at this difficult moment. I am sure that your energy, optimism and sense of humour will help you defeat the illness. With all my heart, I wish you a speedy and full recovery. Sincerely yours, Vladimir Putin

23.03.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Saturday news show Vesti v Subbotu, Moscow, March 21, 2020

Question: For you, Sri Lanka is your youth. What did you feel when you came back here? We are now in the new Embassy building, while you worked in the old building. Still, what memories did it stir up from when you worked here? Sergey Lavrov: Of course, I mostly remember the old building where I worked for four years. I was an aide to Soviet Ambassador Rafik Nishanov, God bless him. We created a tight-knit group of MGIMO graduates and more experienced personnel, including first secretaries and councillors.

27.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the ceremony of signing a cooperation agreement between the Foreign Ministry, the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS) and the Federal Archive Agency (Rosarkhiv) on information coverage of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, Moscow, February 26, 2020

We have just signed a cooperation agreement with the Federal Archive Agency and ITAR-TASS on covering the events that will be devoted to and are already being held to honour the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Our Foreign Ministry has established very close, collaborative and friendly relations with our colleagues – the Federal Archive Agency and ITAR-TASS. We are combining the capabilities of federal executive bodies and our media on a very topical theme.

21.02.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's welcoming words at the reception to honour the Russian Armed Forces

Excellences, Ladies and gentlemen, We have gathered today to honour the Russian Armed Forces. Our Army has seen many glorious victories. Those who liberated Europe and all humanity from fascism on the battlefields of the World War II are still among us. After that terrible war, 75 years ago, the leaders of the USSR, United Kingdom and United States agreed to create the United Nations Organisation designed to prevent such devastating tragedies.

18.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to media questions following the 56th Munich Security Conference, Munich, February 17, 2020

The Munich Security Conference is over. You have seen all the speeches. Our media have already made assessments. I will be glad to answer your questions. Question: Did you discuss with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo President Donald Trump’s participation in the meeting of the UN Security Council permanent members proposed by Russia? Is the US position now clear? Did you discuss extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START)? Did you manage to reach any agreement?

17.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during the 56th Munich Security Conference, Global Disorder – Other Opportunities for a New Agenda, Munich, February 15, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, This year marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in WWII. Sadly, there are attempts to brazenly distort history and to equate the liberators of Europe with Nazi murderers. These attempts will remain on the conscience of those behind them. No one and nothing can belittle the decisive role of the Red Army and the Soviet people in defeating Nazism. At the same time, we will always keep in our minds the spirit of Alliance during the War and the ability of the states to unite and fight the common threat regardless of ideological differences.

10.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to questions from Rossiyskaya Gazeta editorial office and its regional partners during a business breakfast, Moscow, February 10, 2020

Question: There are numerous reports in the media about preparations for the upcoming Defender-Europe 20 military exercise, due to take place this May in a number of Eastern European countries. This will be the largest US military exercise in the past 25 years. Given the considerable cooling in relations between Russia and NATO, are we witnessing the birth of a new Cold War?

06.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Prensa Latina News Agency, February 5, 2020

Question: What is your opinion of the new US punitive measures to toughen the embargo against Cuba that has been in place for almost 60 years? Sergey Lavrov: We can see that US attempts to reformat the Latin American region in line with its geopolitical interests aim to overthrow the “undesirable regimes” in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The archaic Monroe Doctrine serves as the ideological foundation. In the run-up to the presidential election, the White House continues to ratchet up sanctions against those states which preserve their national independence, sovereignty and identity. This openly anti-human policy runs counter to the generally accepted principles of international law, including the UN Charter.

03.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Rossiya 1 television channel for the documentary Antarctica: 200 Years of Peace, Moscow, February 2, 2020

Sergey Lavrov: Antarctica, which was discovered 200 years ago by the first Russian expedition of Faddey Bellinsgauzen and Mikhail Lazarev, is a continent where international relations, as it was decided after long disputes, are guided by the Antarctic Treaty signed 60 years ago. The 1959 Antarctic Treaty sets out the principles that regulate the activities of all countries in Antarctica. First of all, the contracting parties pledged to use Antarctica for peaceful purposes only, preserve its biological resources and prohibit all activities relating to Antarctic mineral resources, except for scientific research (the latter provision was confirmed by the contracting parties for at least 50 years at their meeting in Madrid in 1991). The treaty also bans any measures of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases, the carrying out of military manoeuvres, as well as the testing of any type of weapons. There is also a provision on cooperation based on mutual respect and conducted in the interests of the whole of humankind.

03.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article titled “Russia and Indonesia: 70 years of fruitful cooperation” published in the Indonesian national newspaper Kompas, February 2, 2020

This year, Russia and Indonesia are celebrating the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. Any significant date is always a good occasion both for summing up what has been achieved so far and for drafting plans for the future.

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