25 July 2021
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1239 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1231 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

15.04.2020

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Russian and foreign media via video-conference on urgent international issues, Moscow, April 14, 2020

Like most of our colleagues in other specialties and professions, we are now working remotely. This is why we have temporarily suspended our traditional forms of diplomatic activity like personal visits and talks and news conferences and comments that follow them. We receive questions about Russia’s foreign policy activity in these conditions and so we decided to respond to your request and hold this interview today. 

Question: Are you considering changing the travel rules for Russians going abroad during the coronavirus pandemic or after the borders are opened? What would this be? Exit visas, mandatory negative coronavirus testing or something else? Are you discussing this issue now with our partners?

Sergey Lavrov: For now, this issue is not being discussed by anyone. I don’t think any of our compatriots want to go abroad now. In principle, bans are not possible because freedom of movement is fixed in our Constitution. I think the main thing now is to reduce the number of infected people and fatalities as much as possible. The measures that are being taken by the emergency response centre of the Government of the Russian Federation are well known. We are strictly guided by these decisions.

I would like to talk again about exiting the country. Obviously, nobody is going to introduce exit visas. I cannot even imagine a discussion on this issue on a practical plane. I would not worry about those who would like to use this constitutional right when physical capabilities, such as air service and other travel modes are restored.

Question: Of course, my question is also about the coronavirus. Washington continues to criticise the World Health Organisation (WHO). What does Russia think about this behaviour at a time when the whole world, almost every country without exception, is in the middle of fighting the coronavirus pandemic in cooperation with the WHO? Is this criticism useful and constructive or maybe it is counterproductive now?

Sergey Lavrov: Basically, what the WHO has done and when is well known. The statistics are available. I believe that anyone who studies the chronology of its actions, statements and specific decisions will be convinced that the WHO was efficient. Moreover, the fact that the WHO has played and continues to play a major coordinating role in countering the pandemic is reflected in the recently adopted consensus resolution of the UN General Assembly and the final declaration of the G20 extraordinary summit. In both cases, the United States supported the consensus documents. We can only assume that this is their official position.

I would certainly warn everyone against any attempt to politicise the coronavirus issue. Meanwhile, such attempts are not limited to the role of the WHO. Accusations are also being leveled against various countries. I would concentrate today on specific steps to curb the pandemic and its spread and reduce the damage to a minimum, primarily the health and lives of people. Later, we will be able to analyse the lessons of the “campaign,” the mistakes and the role of multilateral institutions.       

One more statement about the WHO: when talking about its actions, let’s not forget that the United States is its biggest financial contributor, and as such always has priority representation in the structures and secretariats of international organisations. Most of the WHO’s key posts are held by Americans. They are certainly specialists and make well-considered professional decisions.

Question: We have also noted that the spread of the coronavirus has impacted international life, both in the economy and politics. What mechanism, in your opinion, should now be designed to help the leading countries combat the pandemic jointly? Is there a threat to peace and stability in the world at large if the pandemic is not suppressed soon?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, the pandemic has created very serious problems, the most important of which is saving people’s lives, ensuring their security, biomedical safety and the preservation of the human environment, which should be comfortable and pose no threats to life and health.

The second challenge, which everybody is talking about, is the economy: the economy of certain countries, the global economy, and the way the coronavirus pandemic has affected trade and investment, as well as currency exchange rates. You can see what is happening to the demand for various products that used to be very popular, including energy carriers, of course. We have to find solutions to all these problems at a gallop, so to say, at the level of individual countries and the organisations of which these countries are members. This is, undoubtedly, the second critical challenge facing humanity.

The third challenge: the current situation is a test not only for states, but also for integration and other associations that include such states. I think that after we overcome this global threat using joint efforts and work out an antidote in case such developments recur, we will have to rethink a lot of things concerning the operation of multilateral organisations. Perhaps we will have a better understanding, for example, of what Europeans think of the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance. We will have a better understanding of how we should approach cooperation in the post-Soviet space, the activities of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and other associations.  Discussions in such formats as the G20 and BRICS will be very promising. By the way, let me remind you that BRICS decided to draw up a cooperation programme on vaccine development and application as early as in 2018. Our Chinese partners and we think that such preparations are in great demand.

Speaking of Russian-Chinese relations in the context of this pandemic, we have been working together since the very outset of the crisis. In early February we evacuated our citizens from Wuhan and delivered humanitarian aid there. Now we are accepting assistance from our Chinese friends, who have passed the peak of the pandemic, and the country and the people have returned to normal life. I firmly believe that mutual assistance is the key principle that all countries should be guided by at this difficult time.

 

To be continued...

 




LATEST EVENTS

23.07.2021 - Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on recent statements by MI5 Director General Ken McCallum

We have noted statements by MI5 Director General Ken McCallum, which have been taken up by the British media, referring to security threats facing the United Kingdom, allegedly emanating from the actions of hostile states, namely, cyber-attacks, misinformation, etc. Director General Ken McCallum also lists Russia among such hostile states. At the same time, all of his assertions are in the well-known “highly likely” style. He provides no evidence or specific facts and merely speaks about certain hybrid threats. There is no specific example to confirm all this; however, this creates a narrative that is detrimental for and has a destructive effect on interstate dialogue and the normal development of bilateral ties.


22.07.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's interview with Interfax news agency, Moscow, July 21, 2021

Question: The German-US draft agreement on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline ties up Ukraine's energy security with new sanctions on Russia that the Germans will be able to impose. Does Russia think the latest threat of sanctions is acceptable? Will it affect the implementation of the project? Sergey Lavrov: Any threat of sanctions, be it new, old or ongoing, is unacceptable, because only the UN Security Council can impose them. Our Western colleagues, primarily the United States and the European Union, which is quickly adopting these “bad habits,” are quite often carried away by sanctions. They are no longer interested in the culture of diplomacy or talks. In fact, they are losing it. They want instant results.


17.07.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation between China and Russia, published by the newspapers Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia) and Renmin Ribao (China), July 16, 2021

Relations between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China have reached an all-time high, setting an example of interstate cooperation in the 21st century. Just as in any story of success, there are backbone pillars in our relations that set the tune for our forward development in the years ahead. One such pillar in the development of modern Russian-Chinese ties was the signing of the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation. Twenty years ago, it was signed by President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of China Jiang Zemin.


13.07.2021 - Article by Vladimir Putin ”On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians“, 12.07.2021

During the recent Direct Line, when I was asked about Russian-Ukrainian relations, I said that Russians and Ukrainians were one people – a single whole. These words were not driven by some short-term considerations or prompted by the current political context. It is what I have said on numerous occasions and what I firmly believe. I therefore feel it necessary to explain my position in detail and share my assessments of today's situation.


09.07.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s address on Russia’s International Activities for Russian Regions’ Development, delivered at Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), and answers to questions from students and faculty, Vladivostok, July 8, 2021

Thank you for the opportunity to speak here. I have returned from a short Asian tour, during which I visited Indonesia and Laos. We also held a meeting of the Russian and ASEAN foreign ministers in a hybrid format. What we do during our foreign trips and talks with our foreign partners is not done for its own sake. We do it to implement our foreign policy, which was approved by the President of Russia in the Foreign Policy Concept adopted in 2016.


22.06.2021 - Article by President Vladimir Putin ”Being Open, Despite the Past“ published in the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, 22 June 2021

Article by Russian President Vladimir Putin ”Being Open, Despite the Past“ published in the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.


09.05.2021 - President Putin's address at the military parade marking the 76th Anniversary of Victory

Citizens of Russia, Dear veterans, Comrades soldiers and sailors, sergeants and warrant officers, midshipmen and sergeant majors, Comrades officers, generals and admirals, Happy Victory Day! The Victory had a colossal historic significance for the fate of the entire world. It is a holiday that has always been and will remain a sacred day for Russia, for our nation. It is our holiday by right, for we are blood relatives of those who defeated, crushed, destroyed Nazism. It is ours because we descend from the generation of victors, a generation we are proud of and hold in great honour.


22.04.2021 - Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova's Comment on new legislative initiatives in the UK

We have noted the publications announcing a number of upcoming legislative initiatives of the UK government aimed at countering the hostile activities of foreign states – primarily, Russia and China. Of particular interest with regards to this is the act regulating the work of foreign agents, which includes the requirement for all individuals and legal entities working on behalf of foreign countries in Britain to register their presence. Failure to do so will be a criminal offence and will entail deportation. The publications note that London plans to use the experience of its allies, primarily the United States, in this matter.


21.04.2021 - President Vladimir Putin's Address to the Federal Assembly, 21 April 2021

The President of Russia delivered the Address to the Federal Assembly. The ceremony took place at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall. The ceremony was attended by the senators of the Russian Federation, State Duma deputies, members of the Government, the heads of the Constitutional and Supreme courts, regional governors, speakers of regional legislatures, the heads of traditional religious denominations and public activists.


06.04.2021 - Interview by Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov to Hindustan Times, April 6, 2021

Question: With India and Russia set to resume high-level engagements after the Covid-19 crisis, what will be priorities for bilateral agenda in 2021? Sergey Lavrov: Russia is satisfied with the vigorous political dialogue with India on all levels that keeps on actively developing despite serious restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020 we managed to successfully organize several events in face-to-face and online formats. Summits of the SCO and BRICS – a new type of multilateral associations where our countries cooperate fruitfully – are among them.



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