16 October 2018
Moscow: 02:51
London: 00:51

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Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of the Republic of Mauritius Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo


On November 12-14, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of the Republic of Mauritius Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo will pay a working visit to Moscow. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will have talks with him on November 14. The officials will discuss topical issues of further developing bilateral ties in the political, trade, economic, humanitarian, cultural and other areas and promoting a mutually beneficial partnership in transport, fishing, tourism and personnel training.

They will also conduct a detailed exchange of views on international and regional issues, with an emphasis on preventing and overcoming crises in Africa and the Middle East, as well as countering international terrorism and piracy in the north-western Indian Ocean.


Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei’s working visit to Moscow


On November 14-15, Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei will make a working visit to Moscow at Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s invitation.

The officials will discuss a broad range of issues of bilateral cooperation, and a schedule of forthcoming political contacts, as well as compare their positions on urgent international and regional issues.

They will focus on prospects for cooperation in integration associations, such as the EAEU, CIS and CSTO, bearing in mind Belarus’ presidency of CSTO later in 2017.

The ministers will pay special attention to cooperation in international organisations, including the UN and OSCE.

Among the most important topics on the bilateral agenda will be reviewing the draft of the Russian-Belarusian intergovernmental agreement on mutual recognition of visas and other accords linked with the entry of foreign citizens and stateless persons to the territory of the member-states of the Treaty Establishing the Union State, designed to create a legal foundation for the crossing of the Russian-Belarusian border by citizens of third countries.

Based on the results of the talks, the sides plan to sign a programme of coordinated foreign policy action of member-states of the Treaty Establishing the Union State in 2018-2019, and a plan of consultations between the foreign ministries of Russia and Belarus in 2018.


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s upcoming talks with Argentine Foreign and Worship Minister Jorge Faurie


On November 16, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold talks with Argentine Foreign and Worship Minister Jorge Faurie.

We pay special attention to this visit, which we see as a good opportunity to continue the dialogue on enhancing this comprehensive strategic partnership. The ministers will discuss priority topics on the bilateral agenda, as well as a number of international and regional issues and will examine the schedule of upcoming high level contacts.

Argentina is our longstanding and reliable partner. We appreciate its active participation in world affairs and its firm position on strict compliance with the principles of international law. Special attention will be paid to enhancing cooperation on multilateral platforms, in particular, at the UN, the WTO as well as the G20, where Argentina will hold the chair next year.

An important aspect of Russia-Argentina relations is trade and economic cooperation, characterised by a gradual increase in bilateral trade turnover. A prerequisite for progressive development in this respect is the successful implementation of joint investment projects in such promising areas as energy, including nuclear power, exploration and peaceful use of outer space, and the creation of a transport infrastructure.

We hope to expand cultural and humanitarian projects with Argentina, enhance our information cooperation and mutual media presence. We place particular emphasis on cultural projects, which I’ve already mentioned, and which we discussed during our foreign ministries’ first ever press service consultations, held not long ago. We have many things to discuss, as well as specific proposals from us and from Argentina.

We expect Argentina’s national team to come to Russia to take part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. A friendly match between the Russian and Argentinian teams is set to take place on November 11.


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s upcoming talks with Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray Caso


On November 17, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will have talks with Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the United Mexican States Luis Videgaray Caso in Moscow.

The meeting of the foreign ministers of our countries is the result of progressive development of the trust-based bilateral political dialogue, which gained additional momentum after President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Xiamen (China) on September 3-5, 2017.

Mexico is an important partner of Russia. In the international arena, our countries consistently stand for building a democratic and just world order, based on the principles of equality and mutual respect, strengthening the central role of the UN in international relations, global peace and security. Both countries have been constructively cooperating in various multilateral organisations, such as the UN, G20 and APEC.

The ministers will discuss a wide range of issues on the bilateral agenda, including opportunities to enhance and diversify trade and economic ties as well as to extend cultural and humanitarian cooperation. They are also planning to exchange opinions on the current international and regional topics.

We believe that the Russian-Mexican talks will add momentum to the entire range of bilateral cooperation, including political dialogue and multi-faceted partnership in practical areas, and will contribute to coordination of our countries in the international arena.


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meeting with participants in the Dialogue in the Name of the Future research and educational programme of the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund


On November 17, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold an annual meeting with participants in the Dialogue in the Name of the Future research and educational programme of the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund. This project has been carried out since 2011 and is intended for young foreign and domestic experts in international relations.

We attach great importance to dialogue with members of the research and expert community, who represent a wide range of positions and views on the world politics. We believe that an open and free discussion in this format will enable researchers to familiarise themselves more profoundly with Russia’s approaches to the resolution of pressing international issues and will help allay the myths about our country that are being pushed forth by our opponents in the information space.

During the meeting, the Minister will share his assessments of the international situation, dwell on priority fields of the Foreign Ministry’s work and answer questions from participants in the Gorchakov Fund’ programme.      


The situation in Syria


With the assistance of the Russian Aerospace Forces, the Syrian army is completing the elimination of the hotbed of international terrorism on Syrian soil. The Russian Federation continues to give Syria comprehensive aid to promote the speedy normalisation of the situation and help create favourable conditions in order to overcome the consequences of the protracted devastating crisis and the armed conflict.

The Russian side is making strenuous efforts, including during contacts with the UN and various international partners, towards preparing and holding the Syrian National Dialogue Congress. We hope that the Congress will become an important landmark on the path to restoring the unity of the ethnic and religious diversity of Syrian society, asserting the principles of national reconciliation and political and state building.

Today, the media have reported the fall of the last major ISIS stronghold in Syria, the city of Abu Kamal. Earlier, not far from there, Syrian army personnel met with Iraqi forces, who cleared the city of Al-Qaim of ISIS militants on the Iraqi side of the border.  

The city of Deir ez-Zor has been fully liberated. Life there is gradually returning to normal. The Syrian authorities are putting maximum effort into organising the restoration of the socio-economic infrastructure and paving the way for the return of civilians to their homes.

Nevertheless, the level of terrorist threat remains high. Disjointed ISIS units continue provocations and terrorist attacks. On November 4, Russian journalists and also sappers, who were clearing the area of mines, were injured in a remote controlled land mine explosion. On the night of November 5, a suicide terrorist drove a car bomb into a refugee camp northwest of Deir ez-Zor and detonated the explosive device: more than 100 people, predominantly children, women and elderly people, were killed or sustained injuries.

We have seen a considerable increase in UN humanitarian supplies to de-escalation zones. Russian service personnel from the Reconciliation Centre are assisting in the safe passage of UN aid convoys. Simultaneously, the Russian military regularly conducts its own humanitarian operations in various parts of the country, bringing food and essential goods to the needy and helping restore schools and hospitals destroyed by the terrorists.

The Russian side continues to work to bolster the ceasefire regime all over Syria. The life of civilians across most of Syria is gradually improving and becoming peaceful. But Jabhat al-Nusra militants and affiliated groups are actively trying to disrupt these efforts. On November 7, terrorists committed a huge provocation in the Eastern Ghouta de-escalation zone: central areas of Damascus came under a massive mortar attack. Several mortars hit the area where the Russian Embassy is located. In November, terrorists launched yet another mortar attack from Eastern Ghouta on a number of suburbs and districts of Damascus.

We again urge international and regional parties to provide active support to the Syrian people, not in words but in deeds, in finding solutions to the conflict and to send humanitarian aid to the hardest-hit areas of Syria without bringing forth any preliminary conditions to the Syrian Government.


Discussion of the Joint Investigative Mechanism’s seventh report at the UNSC


On November 7, the UN Security Council met to discuss, among other things, the seventh report of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, as well as the prospects for extending its mandate.

You may have studied Russia’s assessments on the issue, which are available in the public domain. We took note of the remarks by JIM head Edmond Mulet, who praised the JIM’s methodology to high heaven and portrayed its work as professional and impartial. However, he did not respond to any of our specific questions concerning the fact that the conclusions of the JIM report are at odds with a strictly scientific approach.

Mr Mulet’s perseverance in asserting that the sarin gas that was used in Khan Shaykhun has “Syrian origin”, which is inconsistent in terms of theoretical science, as well as logic, is still incomprehensible. A simple explanation is being offered: the chemical composition of Khan Shaykhun samples coincided with the characteristics of sarin DF precursors that Syria included in its initial statement on the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Strangely enough, all other possibilities were ignored. This logic is all the more amazing given that after Syria submitted to the OPCW information about the methods of synthesising binary sarin, as well as considering the fact that the OPCW has samples taken from Syria’s former stockpiles, this formula has long ceased to be a secret. It may also be recalled that the DF precursor was destroyed aboard the US Maritime Vessel Cape Ray, where samples of it were also taken. Moreover, it would also be appropriate to recall that according to comments made by Russian experts at a Foreign Ministry briefing on November 2, the sarin of this chemical formula can be not only industrially manufactured but also mixed in the backyard.

As for Nikki Haley’s remarks at the meeting, as always, there was nothing new there: groundless accusations against Damascus of using chemical weapons and inappropriate innuendos with regard to Russia, which does not do the US permanent representative to the UN any credit either in terms of diplomatic ethics or from the standpoint of common sense.

For our part, we believe that common sense dictates that we should cast our minds back and analyse the way US diplomacy pushed through the decisions on Iraq at the UN and the UN Security Council, among other places, accusing that country of maintaining and building up weapons of mass destruction.

I’m sure you remember the harsh polemics – the same as now, without any rules, any diplomatic ethics – that were raging at the UN with regard to “Saddam Hussein’s criminal regime” that was allegedly developing weapons of mass destruction, planning “global domination” and collaborating with terrorists.

Here are just a few quotes, including especially for the benefit of the current US permanent representative to the UN. We know that our American colleagues who are appointed to these diplomatic posts, among others, have no idea about what their predecessors said even recently, let alone decades ago. Here are several remarks made by US officials at the UN Security Council between 2002 and 2003.

For instance, John Negroponte, US permanent representative to the UN at the time, alleged that Saddam Hussein’s regime had used chemical weapons against its neighbours and its own citizens; he lied about the development of weapons of mass destruction; he signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and then moved ahead with developing a rather serious nuclear weapons programme.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said they knew that Saddam Hussein was determined to retain his weapons of mass destruction and produce even more of them: “Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein has used such weapons. And Saddam Hussein has no compunction about using them again -- against his neighbours and against his own people.  And we have sources who tell us that he recently has authorised his field commanders to use them. He wouldn't be passing out the orders if he didn't have the weapons or the intent to use them.”

Remarks by permanent representatives of any country at UN Security Council meetings are available in the archives on the UN website. Make an effort and take a look. Does this remind you of anything? It certainly sounds familiar to me.

This could have been chalked up just to a factual mistake, ignorance or unreliable information, not a deliberate attempt to mislead UN Security Council members. However, the memoirs by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which came out recently and contain revelations regarding the dubious evidence used as grounds for launching a military campaign against Iraq in 2003-2011, caught our eye. According to Mr Brown, the United States deliberately misled the British, concealing from them a top-secret report prepared by military intelligence back in 2002 that seriously called into question the existence of WMD in Baghdad. In other words, the US leadership (including, of course, US diplomats) concealed information even from its closest partners and allies.

According to Gordon Brown, the document (he said he learned about it only last year) indicated that the US military had not found the facilities in Iraq where biological weapons were manufactured, tested or stored, nor did they prove that Baghdad had the capability to manufacture chemical agents. The report noted that the United States also had no reliable information regarding Iraq’s nuclear programme (it was acknowledged that 90 per cent of that analysis was based on inaccurate intelligence data). Moreover, it called into question Baghdad’s ability to make long-range missiles.

The insistent, forceful and sometimes even brazen way US diplomacy is talking, including at the UN Security Council, about Damascus and the Syrian leadership using chemical weapons is reminiscent of its tactics from the early 2000s. However, those were not mistakes! This is a systematic, programmed action to push through its geopolitical interests. Whether these interests were geo-strategic and geopolitical or whether they were the interests of certain political forces and representatives of the US political establishment in those years – this is a good question.

Frankly, I would like to ask this: maybe this time, too, there was a certain secret report by the US intelligence community about which we will learn some time later? But right now the end – i.e., blame Damascus for something it did not do – justifies the means.

Unfortunately, all of this is happening in keeping with the best traditions of certain representatives of the US political establishment. Still, questions are bound to come up over the methods used by our partners across the ocean.


Collection of biomaterial of Russian citizens by the Pentagon 


We have received many questions from the media about the collection of biomaterial of Russian citizens by the Pentagon. At first there were many satirical and sarcastic remarks made about this in the internet and responses on this score. However, when relevant comments came from US power agencies the laughing stopped. People started asking for an explanation as to what is going on.

We are concerned over the reports that the Pentagon is studying biological material of Russian citizens, collected on the territory of this country. Note, this is a military agency and it is worth drawing the attention of those who were laughing to this important fact. This is not cooperation between, say, healthcare ministries or exchange of information between research communities. The Russian Ministry of Healthcare said that US colleagues have not approached it with this matter and does not conduct any cooperation with them. The Pentagon’s official explanations sound unconvincing and only evoke more questions that will be raised.

 We believe the Pentagon should present convincing evidence so that the relevant studies by the US Air Force do not violate relevant norms of international law.

This transparency is essential because of the Pentagon’s tarnished reputation in the biological field. There are plenty of examples and you can read about them yourselves. If need be we can publish some additional material on this topic. It is enough to recall the recent incident with the shipments of live anthrax by Lothar Salomon Life Sciences Test Facility (LSTF) at the US Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. They were sent all over the world, including to US foreign military facilities for aerosol experiments.

Lack of transparency in the Pentagon’s medico-biological activities and its close attention to Russia and adjacent states makes it necessary to enhance biological security.


The International Criminal Court’s inquiry into the situation in Afghanistan


We have noticed the reports that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is seeking a formal investigation into the situation in Afghanistan.

Russia is consistently demanding criminal proceedings against those who are guilty of civilian murders, torture, cruel treatment and attacks on civilian infrastructure facilities.

At the same time we are not sure that the ICC that has failed to act as a really independent body of international criminal justice is capable of conducting an unbiased investigation into the situation in Afghanistan. Indicatively, it took the prosecutor over a decade to dare to decide on a request for an inquiry.


Closure of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia


We assume the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) will complete its activities before December 31 of this year in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2329 (2016).

Russia has repeatedly noted that the ICTY is considerably politicised and biased in its inquiries. The civil war in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s is a tragic page of world history but the ICTY is still trying to present its one-sided anti-Serb interpretation of these events.

The ICTY’s attempts to surreptitiously blame nations, governments and states for various crimes are provoking tension and mutual mistrust in the former Yugoslavia and bring to life long-standing problems as well as  ethnic contradictions in the region.

It is also alarming that the ICTY is ignoring the fundamental rights of defendants. There are many examples of this conduct. For instance, recently it refused a request for the temporary release of the former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic for medical treatment in Russia despite the deterioration of his health and Russia’s guarantees to the Tribunal.

The ICTY has not become an effective mechanism of international criminal justice, either. Being an ad hoc tribunal, it existed for over 20 years and spent billions on its activities. Russia repeatedly voiced its serious concern over the extension of the term of its activities by the UN Security Council.

In this context we expect the ICTY to complete its activities as soon as possible and transfer without delay all outstanding cases to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT). We assume the IRMCT is an ad hoc instrument plus we insist on its strict observance of standards of justice, including the terms of criminal proceedings.


Latest developments in Ukraine


We have received numerous requests to comment on developments in Ukraine. We have published many comments. I will venture to give a comprehensive answer to all these requests taken together.

The day before yesterday, Sergey Lavrov mentioned the latest example of the Ukrainian nationalists’ barbaric behaviour in Kiev, where they vandalised a military monument by pouring cement over the monument’s Eternal Flame. The following day we received reports about yet another vicious act in Ukraine, where vandals damaged a monument to the servicemen of motorised units who perished during the Great Patriotic War in Melitopol. We are shocked by the cynicism and inaction of the Ukrainian authorities, who close their eyes while extremists insult the memory of those who died fighting Nazism. We hope these crimes will be properly investigated and that those responsible will be brought to justice.

We also feel compelled to react to other news from Ukraine, where another bout of anti-Russia hysteria seems to be gaining momentum. It looks like almost everyone in the Ukrainian authorities considers it their duty to pitch in.

The tone is set by President of Ukraine Poroshenko. The other day, he signed a law under which Russian performers’ tours in Ukraine must be vetted by the “judges of the arts” from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). In other words, Ukraine will now live under the total censorship of the current Ukrainian security forces, the very same “blue uniforms [of gendarmes]”, to whom Mr Poroshenko bid farewell so bombastically when he announced that Ukraine had been granted visa-free travel to the EU. I suggest he should read the poem from which he quoted again.

The Ukrainian cabinet is doing its bit as well. On November 8, it adopted a decision, which was streamed online, to withdraw from the February 8, 1995 Russian-Ukrainian intergovernmental agreement on the procedure for the mutual deliveries of weapons and military equipment, components and spare parts, as well as on repair and military services. Judging by the broad coverage of this event, the Ukrainian authorities have run out of pretexts for highlighting their “uncompromising” anti-Russia position. It is a logical development. We have long been talking about this. Kiev’s policy is leading it into a dead-end, because nationalists will continue to demand new evidence of compliance with the instructions they issued to the new authorities during the bloody Maidan protests. We already see this happening.

A special place in this parade of inadequate ideas belongs to the old Maidan initiative for severing diplomatic relations with Russia. This far from new idea is regularly revived at a time when public attention should be drawn away from the accumulating problems. There is a clear link between the two. Everyone can see a connection between severing diplomatic relations, introducing visas and many other initiatives of the so-called Ukrainian establishment and attempts to divert public attention from the problems ailing Ukraine. None of the Ukrainian politicians stop to think about the consequences of the latest initiative, primarily for the millions of Ukrainians, including those who work in Russia.

We continue to monitor developments in Ukraine. We still hope that common sense will prevail, but it is a dying hope.


The first anniversary of Moldovan President Igor Dodon’s electoral victory


Before the briefing we also received a question from Accent TV, a Moldovan channel. The question is this: November 13 marks the first anniversary of Moldova electing a president who favours improved relations with Russia. The relations themselves have fared differently during this period. On the one hand, trade has grown, and people in Moldova are happy with the trade amnesty. On the other, Russian diplomats have been expelled and experts and journalists have been deported. How do you assess this anniversary from the point of view of progress in Russian-Moldovan relations? What is Russia’s policy towards a country with an actual duality of power in foreign policy guidance?

We are ready to answer this question. November 13 marks the anniversary of Mr Igor Dodon’s election as President of the Republic of Moldova.

President Dodon has taken a number of steps to re-establish cooperation between Moldova and Russia, the EAEU and the CIS.

President Vladimir Putin held six meetings with Igor Dodon this year. A stable dialogue has been established on a broad range of issues, a dialogue that makes it possible to look for solutions to the most urgent bilateral problems.

Agreements reached as a result of the meetings between the two heads of state have boosted bilateral trade and economic cooperation. Moldovan exports to the Russian market have grown significantly and we have managed to solve a number of problems facing Moldovan migrant workers in Russia.

In March, President Dodon applied for EAEU observer status for Moldova. In April, President Dodon and Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Tigran Sargsyan signed a Memorandum on Cooperation between Moldova and the EEC.

His efforts to promote a dialogue with Transnistria deserve praise. He held two meetings with Transnistria head Vadim Krasnoselsky. There is some progress in dealing with a number of practical issues related to a Transnistria settlement.

Regrettably, the internal political confrontation between the branches of power in Moldova today makes it impossible to implement President Dodon’s initiatives in full and to tap into more of Russian-Moldovan cooperation potential.

Moreover, the Moldovan Government and parliamentary majority have taken a number of steps lately to restrict the President’s powers. There are also some openly anti-Russian actions. Nevertheless, Russia is open to long-term development of friendly, partner relations with a neutral Moldova, relations based on long-standing historical ties between our peoples. We hope that the current difficult stage in the country’s development will be surmounted.

We wish success to both President Igor Dodon in his activities for the good of the Moldovan people and the strengthening of Russian-Moldovan cooperation and to all of the friendly Moldovan people.  


Latvia’s plans to grant World War II participant status to persons who fought on both sides of the front


On November 2, the Saeima (Parliament) of Latvia approved the second version of a bill on granting “World War II participant status” to persons who had fought on both sides of the front. The bill aims to “recognise the merits” of Latvian citizens who had fought in World War II. At the same time, the document’s authors do not care whether these citizens had sided with Nazi Germany or the Anti-Hitler Coalition. Therefore Latvian authorities have made another step towards whitewashing Nazi criminals and have equated soldiers of the Waffen SS’ Latvian Legion with Red Army veterans who had liberated the world from Nazism.

In turn, we have responded with indignation to this report. This is by no means the first instance when official Riga openly glorifies Nazi criminals, while persecuting Soviet Army veterans. But the Latvian authorities cross another red line each time. We consider it absolutely unacceptable to doubt the results of World War II and the verdict of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal that had recognised the SS as a criminal organisation. The second version of the bill On Granting the Status of WWII Participant proves convincingly that the process of substituting specific concepts is assuming increasingly uglier forms. The blasphemous nature of this initiative is obvious. We are expecting to hear an adequate assessment on this matter from specialised international organisations, Latvia’s European Union partners and veterans’ organisations.


Statements by Republic of Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev to Montenegro’s Antenna M radio station


We have read statements by Republic of Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev about alleged plans of his liquidation under a “Montenegrin scenario” during his November 5, 2017 interview with Montenegro’s Antenna M radio station.

We believe that not only do such statements amount to groundless insinuations and manic conjectures, but, in principle, they resemble an attempt at sacrificial self-advertising. Most importantly, these statements are detrimental to Russia-Macedonia relations and they obviously contradict Skopje’s official readiness to engage in constructive cooperation with Russia.

The ‘horrors” being voiced in this manner simply serve as a means to cover up the rapid accession of Balkan states so far remaining outside NATO structures to the alliance. A recent political crisis in the state of Macedonia was largely provoked for precisely this reason. Russia has never interfered in domestic affairs of the Republic of Macedonia.


Unveiling monument to Vitaly Churkin in Republika Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina)


On November 6, a monument honouring Vitaly Churkin, the late Russian Ambassador to the United Nations, was unveiled in East Sarajevo, in Republika Srpska (Serb Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina). The ceremony involved representatives of the Republika Srpska Government, the Russian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, non-government organisations as well as public activists.

We are grateful to the Eastern Alternative public association, Republika Srpska leaders and East Sarajevo authorities for implementing this initiative.

We would like to note that, during the darkest periods of the crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as during the difficult period of the post-conflict settlement, Ambassador Churkin did his best to make a constructive contribution to ending the bloodshed, defending peace and stability in Southeastern Europe. A respectful attitude towards his legacy in the Balkan region makes us feel even more confident that the nations of this region that has experienced extremely tumultuous ordeals will continue to move steadily along the road of mutually beneficial cooperation, inter-ethnic and interfaith coexistence as well as respect for fundamental principles of international law.



To be continued...




15.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the ties between “Bellingcat” and secret services

Question: Russian officials claim that “Bellingcat” is connected to intelligence agencies of the Western countries, but do not present any evidence of such ties. Doesn’t such approach contradict Russia’s position on the Salisbury incident, the MH-17 catastrophe and other notable cases, where the Russian government is continuously demanding to publish proofs of accusations? Answer: There is no contradiction. The fact that “Bellingcat” is affiliated to the intelligence services is obvious considering the whole range of relevant circumstances: date of its foundation (several days prior to the MH-17 catastrophe), nature of published information (which combines signs of intelligence data and highly professional fakes), its orientation (always anti-Russian), timeline of publications (each time at the best moment from the point of view of interests of NATO countries), biography of its leader (Elliot Higgins suddenly turned from a PC gamer into an “icon of independent journalism), non-transparency of its internal structure and financing. If “Bellingcat” can provide any other plausible explanation for such combination of facts, it should be presented to the public.

15.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the British government calls to step up anti-Russian sanctions

Question: How would you comment on the news that the British government has been lobbying a new EU sanctions regime against Russian nationals allegedly involved in use of chemical weapons and cyber-attacks in Europe? Answer: We have taken note of the respective statement by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of 14 October and the relevant media reports. These suggest that, faced with an imminent Brexit, the British government makes every effort to step up the sanctions pressure on Russia and to complicate as much as possible Russia-EU relations after Brexit.

13.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the investigation of the death of Nikolay Glushkov

Q.: 12 October marks seven months since the death of Nikolay Glushkov. Does the Embassy have any new information on this case? A.: Unfortunately, once again we have to state that the British side continues to evade any sort of cooperation with Russia with regard to the investigation of the death of former Deputy Director General of “Aeroflot” Mr Glushkov that occurred on British soil on 12 March. The British authorities continue to ignore numerous Russian requests, including the official request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation for legal assistance in the criminal case opened in Russia into the Nikolay Glushkov’s death. There are no answers to the Embassy’s proposals to arrange a meeting or consultations between the Investigative Committee, Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation experts and the Metropolitan Police representatives.

12.10.2018 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s introductory remarks at the press-conference on 12 October 2018

Ladies and gentlemen, In recent weeks we have received a number of media requests concerning the current state of bilateral affairs between Russia and the United Kingdom. I am also often asked how numerous anti-Russian statements by the British officials influence our approach towards the UK. Considering this, I have decided to invite you today to make respective short comments on these issues and answer your additional questions. Currently the relations between Russia and the UK are at a very low level. The reason for that lies in an aggressive anti-Ru ssian campaign launched by the current Tory government and supported by the British media.

09.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the new Bellingcat’s investigation

Question: How would you comment on Bellingcat’s claims that it has “tracked down Alexander Petrov’s real identity”? Answer: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently advised us to consider such publications and statements as a display of freedom of public debate into which the UK Government does not interfere. There have already been reports that the Home Office and Metropolitan Police would not comment on these “speculations”. This is exactly the case when we should follow the example of our British colleagues.

08.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the UK authorities’ reaction to Russia’s official requests following recent flagrant media publications

Question: The Embassy declared its intent to request clarifications from the British side following the recent accusations of cyberattacks, and the media reports on preparations for retaliatory cyberstrikes against targets in Russia. Has there been any response? Answer: Today we have received a reply from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which implies that, as before, the British side is not going to provide us with any details that may serve as the basis of the accusations. In this case, we are not in a position to make comments on the essence of those accusations.

05.10.2018 - Embassy comment on another groundless British accusation against Russia

On 4 October, UK Permanent Representative to OPCW Peter Wilson speaking on behalf of Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan claimed that the “GRU” allegedly “attempted to compromise UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office computer systems via a spear phishing attack” and “targeted computers of the UK Defence and Science Technology Laboratory”. The same day the UK National Cyber Security Centre stated that “multiple email accounts belonging to a small UK-based TV station were accessed and content stolen” and “the GRU was almost certainly responsible”.Today, the Embassy has forwarded a Note Verbale to the FCO demanding that the UK Government produces and immediately shares with the Russian side hard evidence and proofs supporting those claims, and informs about sources used to draw such conclusions. We have reminded, in particular, that Russia had repeatedly proposed expert consultations on cybersecurity in order to address UK’s concerns, if any.

04.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the BBC journalist Mark Urban’s book on Sergei Skripal

Q.: How would you comment on the Mark Urban’s book on Sergei Skripal published on 4 October? A.: We intend yet to study this book. At the same time, it is a well known fact that Mark Urban has close links with British secret services. This gives us grounds for considering this book as an attempt to compensate for Sergei Skripal’s public non-appearance as the key witness to the Salisbury incident. Instead of facts, the public is again offered speculation and guesses.

04.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the recent anti-Russian statement by the Foreign Office

Question: How would you comment on today’s statement by the Foreign Office accusing Russia of worldwide cyber-attacks on massive scale? Answer: This statement is reckless. It has become a tradition for such claims to lack any evidence. It is yet another element of the anti-Russian campaign by the UK Government.

03.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on INF Treaty

Question: How would you comment on the latest statements by US officials on Russia’s alleged non-compliance with INF Treaty? Answer: Russia has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty). The US allegations of Russian non-compliance relate to one particular missile type. While we have assured Washington on multiple occasions that the mentioned missile does not violate INF, the US has never explained the exact reasons of their preoccupation. These allegations divert attention from the American actions that are breaching a number of INF provisions.

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