19 June 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

10.07.2017

Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich's remarks at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine and the need to implement the Minsk Agreements, Vienna, July 6, 2017

Mr Chairman,

Over the last two weeks, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine reported on new manifestations of radicalism in Ukraine. Extremists are trying to influence government decisions, and are seeking to destabilise the Ukrainian state. Between June 19 and 24, the SMM witnessed rallies by former Aydar battalion members held after their former commander, member of the Ukrainian parliament Sergey Melnichuk, was called in for questioning on terrorism charges. On June 21, the SMM reported an attempt in Kharkov to prevent journalists from entering the city council. On June 24, monitors witnessed protests staged by the Right Sector in Dnepropetrovsk against the appointment of a local police chief who used to be a Berkut commander.
The government has given the green light to rewriting history, and turns a blind eye to neo-Nazism which it is spreading among young people. From June 30 until July 2, in Lvov, as the city marked 76 years since Jewish pogroms by the Nazi troops and Ukrainian nationalists, the Shukhevichfest was held to honour a Nazi collaborationist and war criminal, Roman Shukhevich. SMM reports only briefly mention that monitors “continue observing” the situation in Kiev as well as in Lvov. Not only do they have to control, but also to report on what they see in every detail. The SMM has the budget to do this.
The situation continues to deteriorate. Quotas were introduced for the use of the Russian language and other minority languages. As a result, at least one half of Ukraine’s population has limited access to information. Journalists and civil society activists are regularly harassed. Where are the results of the investigations into the killing of Oles Buzina and Pavel Sheremet? Journalist Ruslan Kotsaba once again faces attacks. Igor Guzhva, Editor-in-Chief of Strana.ua news website, was detained. We also remember journalists Igor Kornelyuk, Anton Voloshin, Anatoly Klyan, Andrea Rocchelli, plus many others who were also killed.
There is a push to enact laws that would legalise church raids and infringe upon the rights of Orthodox Christians. Arrests of people expressing dissenting views on accusations of ‘everyday separatism’ have become a thing which is all too common, and so did arbitrary detention, and torture by the Security Service of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government knows no boundaries when it comes to deploying anti-Russian efforts. A draft law is currently being reviewed to prevent Russian artists from performing in Ukraine and Ukrainian artists from performing in Russia. At the same time, Ukrainian officials recognise that doctors use Russian medical drugs that are officially banned in Ukraine to save people from illnesses such as botulism.
Despite all these efforts, the society rejects the label of an “aggressor state” imposed by the official Kiev propaganda.
Not only Kiev is unable to take decisive action to stop violence along the line of contact, but provokes its escalation. The so-called bread-harvesting truce failed to bring about a complete ceasefire. On June 26, SMM monitors reported damaged buildings in Vesyolaya Gora and in Kominternovo following artillery fire coming from the area of deployment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. On June 29, a large-scale firing incident took place near Yasinovataya, and on June 30 in the Popasnaya-Pervomaysk section. According to SMM data, over the last two weeks, from June 19 until July 3, artillery fire coming from the areas of deployment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine killed three civilians in Staromikhaylovka, Kominternovo and Yasinovataya, and wounded four in the Kuybyshevsky District of Donetsk, Dokuchaevsk and Stakhanov. Buildings were damaged in Vesyolaya Gora, Zaychenko, Kominternovo, Kirovsk, Leninsk and Sakhanka.
Nevertheless, the total number of violations has declined. Efforts to strengthen the bread harvesting truce should carry on.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine refuse to withdraw from Stanitsa Luganskaya. The monitors reported that between June 26-30, they did not respond to the signals from the self-defence units on the beginning of withdrawal. Nevertheless, the SMM expressly confirmed that there were no shelling incidents during a period of seven days.
Kiev is obviously afraid not only to begin a discussion of the political aspects of the settlement, but even to engage in direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk. The Contact Group meeting in Minsk was another missed opportunity to make progress on the enactment of the law granting special status to these regions and arranging local elections.
It is obvious that the implementation of the Minsk Agreements presents a major challenge for the current Kiev authorities, but this is the only way for appeasing tension in the country and preserving its integrity within its current borders.
Russia condemns any attempts to frighten or threaten SMM monitors. Those responsible for such acts on both sides should be held accountable. The mobility of monitors is being restricted on both sides of the line of contact to a similar extent. The Armed Forces of Ukraine used the landmine threat as a pretext for completely shutting off access to Stanitsa Luganskaya, Schastie, Popasnaya, Bogdanovka and Katerinovka, as the SMM Principal Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug confirmed on June 12. Over the last two weeks, the Kiev armed forces opened fire twice against SMMs UAVs in Podgorny on June 16 and in Zatishny on June 26. On June 28, monitors were unable to launch a UAV from the territory controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Popasnaya due to jamming efforts. SMM did not report on these incidents separately, and the Mission did not provide the latest statistics related to patrols on both sides of the contact line. The SMM has to be guided by its core principles, i.e. to act in an impartial, unbiased and transparent manner.
Thank you for your attention.




LATEST EVENTS

18.06.2018 - Comment of the Embassy Representative on the British Authorities Response to the Complaints of the Russian Nationals about Unjustified Actions Towards Them upon Arrival in the UK

Question: Has there been a response from the British authorities with regard to the information sent to the Embassy by Russian citizens experiencing biased approach from the UK Border Force officials upon arrival in the UK? Answer: In response to the Embassy’s requests to the British Side to put an end to the practice of excessive and inappropriate security measures against Russian citizens (including minors) at the border in the points of entry to the UK, the UK Home Office has issued a formal reply. A letter printed on the Home Office form addressed to the Embassy consists of three sentences, does not contain any signature and is in essence a runaround reply reduced to “routine checks”. This demonstrates the lack of responsibility and ignorance towards serious concerns of the Russian Side and ordinary citizens travelling to the UK.


18.06.2018 - Comment of the Embassy Representative on the Consideration of the Russian Requests for Legal Assistance in the Cases of Nikolay Glushkov and Yulia Skripal by the British Side

Question: Are there any changes in the UK position on cooperation with the Russian Federation on the investigation of the murder of Nikolay Glushkov and the attempt on the lives of the Skripals? What is the current status of the requests by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia received by the UK Home Office? Answer: The British Side continues to keep deafening silence and has not provided answers neither to the Prosecutor General’s Office, nor the Embassy on the status of the official requests for legal assistance on the criminal cases initiated in Russia after the murder and the attempt of murder of Russian citizens on the British soil. Clearly, the UK is showing zero interest in cooperating on the investigation of these high-profile cases. These actions undermine law enforcement and other legal procedures aimed at establishing the truth and justice.


16.06.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the article by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in the “Sun” newspaper, 15 June

Q: What is your reaction to the article by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in the “Sun” newspaper, where he claims UK chose not to boycott World Cup in order not to be unfair towards players and sport fans, because they “have a dispute solely with the Government of Russia”? A: We took note of the abovementioned article. We agree that politics should not intervene in affairs of international sport. And Mr Foreign Secretary is right claiming that British fans in Russia have no reasons to feel threatened. Russian authorities, in cooperation with foreign partners, took every precaution to ensure maximum comfort and security for all World Cup guests. We are happy to have over 600 000 guests from practically every country in the world, including 10 000 British fans.


15.06.2018 - Press release on Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov’s meeting with British Ambassador to Russia Laurence Bristow, 15 June 2018

On June 15, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov met with British Ambassador to Russia Laurence Bristow at the latter’s request.


15.06.2018 - President Putin's speech at the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony at Luzhniki Stadium, 14 June 2018

Friends, I welcome all guests to the legendary Moscow stadium Luzhniki, everyone gathered in the numerous fan zones of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and those watching us on television or online. I congratulate you – the entire large, multinational, tightly-knit international football family – on the start of the top tournament on the planet!


13.06.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning Russia’s response to the G7 statement on the Salisbury incident

Q: What is your reaction to the G7 Communiqué, where Russia is again accused of having poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal? A: Just as in the case of the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in April, we have again witnessed unfounded allegations against Russia, not supported by any evidence. The British authorities continue to rely on allies’ “solidarity” while offering their partners nothing but assertions that there is “no other plausible explanation” of the incident except that Russia is responsible.


13.06.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the inquest into the death of Nikolay Glushkov

Q: Today marks three months since the death of Nikolay Glushkov. How would you comment on the course of the investigation by the British authorities of this case? A: We have to note that the British authorities are still refusing us cooperation on the investigation of the death on the British soil of ex-Deputy Director General of “Aeroflot” Nikolay Glushkov that occurred on 12 March.


08.06.2018 - Russia-Belarus border control rules for attendees of major sports competitions in Russia

On June 1, 2018 the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of Belarus on certain issues related to the entry of foreign citizens and stateless persons to international sports competitions came into force. The document in particular regulates the entry procedure for certain categories of foreign citizens into the territory of the Union State during the preparations and hosting of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Agreement provides for visa-free entry into the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus for the holders of spectator identity cards (fan passports or FAN IDs) or information about them provided they have an authentic ID. The said citizens can also cross the Russia-Belarus border if they travel via the following motor roads: M-1, P-23, A-240 and following railway routes Vitebsk-Pskov, Minsk-Smolensk, Gomel-Bryansk.


08.06.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the new legislation introduced to Parliament in the context of the Salisbury poisoning

Question: How would you comment on the new bill introduced by the British government to give police new powers to investigate all forms of “hostile state activity” and to stop, question, search and detain individuals at the UK border to determine whether they appear to be a person who is, or has been, engaged in hostile activity? Answer: We do not have the opportunity to review and assess the whole text of the bill. Meanwhile, it is unclear from publicly available information, how these new sweeping powers of British law enforcement, border and customs agencies will be applied in practice. In regard to whom and how will they be used? Who and how will examine the level of “hostility” of foreign States’ activities?


08.06.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the publication of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s report “The FCO’s preparations for the 2018 World Cup”

Q.: How would you comment on the contents of the report by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee expressing concerns over safety and security of British fans at the 2018 World Cup in Russia? A.: Unfortunately, this report is another attempt to fuel anti-Russian sentiments on the eve of the World Cup despite the fact that the British police and the FCO have given positive assessments of their cooperation with Russia’s law enforcement authorities on safety and security issues at the World Cup.



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