20 February 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

09.02.2018

MFA comment on the humanitarian situation in Syria

The humanitarian situation in Syria remains difficult. Given these circumstances, Russia continues to deploy multidimensional efforts to provide aid to the civilian population, both by directly bringing in humanitarian supplies, and facilitating the work of international humanitarian bodies.

In this context, we paid attention to a statement issued by the UN agencies in Syria released on February 6 regarding the humanitarian situation in a number of areas, including Afrin, Hasakah, Raqqa, Idlib, Rukban camp, and Eastern Ghouta, with a call for a month-long break in hostilities in order to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate wounded and sick people.

We share this concern. We have repeatedly called on all parties to stop the hostilities. This is the goal of the agreements by guarantor countries under the Astana process – Russia, Turkey and Iran. Efforts are underway to implement these agreements. However, such work is not going smoothly because of active resistance by terrorists and extremists who are trying as best they can to disrupt the processes of establishing peaceful life and who do not want to see Syria a united, sovereign and independent state.

We hope this statement by the humanitarian agencies will not be used to stage more politically motivated attacks against the legitimate Syrian government or to foment hysteria in order to please those who have long called for a regime change in Damascus.

Clearly, the situation in each of the above problem areas has its own specifics. The attempts to put the entire burden of responsibility solely on the official Syrian authorities are groundless. We know from past experience that many of our Western colleagues tend to avoid thoughtful analysis of developments in Syria. They already know in advance who is to blame for everything.

As you may be aware, Raqqa has turned into a ghost city in the wake of massive bombardment by the US-led “anti-ISIS” coalition in the autumn of 2017. More than 80 per cent of the buildings in this city have been destroyed. The mine clearance effort is moving very slowly. In fact, no one is doing it. Dead bodies remain under the debris. Up to 50 injuries caused by explosive devices left behind by ISIS are put on record every week.

Rukban camp located next to the border with Jordan cannot be accessed, because it is located inside a “security area” which was illegally and without prior arrangement created by the United States. In fact, the US troops have this area under their control.

The escalation of tension outside Afrin, where no Syrian government troops are present at the moment, was caused by the United States supporting its “clients” despite Washington's assurances of supporting Syria’s territorial integrity.

Expanded air strikes on the province of Idlib is a response to the terrorists’ desperate attempts to regain lost ground. On February 6 alone, government forces fought off five massive attacks on Abu al-Duhur. The prospects for actual de-escalation there largely depend on how quickly the Turkish observation posts will be put in place along the internal perimeter off the contact line. This work is currently underway. In addition, as far as we know, the entry of humanitarian supplies into this province is fairly unfettered.

Fighting in Eastern Ghouta was provoked by militants attacking the Syrian Armoured Vehicle Department in a Damascus suburb of Harasta in November 2017. The militant attempts to cut off and seize this site continue until now. On February 6 alone, several massive attacks were disrupted. Damascus has been under mortar fire from this area to this day. It intensified in the past few days, and the number of dead and wounded among civilians has increased dramatically.




LATEST EVENTS

20.02.2018 - DRAFT UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON COOPERATION IN COMBATING INFORMATION CRIMES



15.02.2018 - Embassy Comments on statement of Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad

The statement of Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad regarding Russia’s alleged responsibility for the NotPetya cyber-attack is, like many other similar accusations, not backed by any evidence. It is another example of irresponsible and hostile rhetoric of British officials towards Russia. The Embassy considers it as a part of the continuing campaign aimed at the stigmatisation of our country, that we have witnessed in the UK over the recent months.


15.02.2018 - The latest anti-Russian campaign in Western media (MFA comment)

We have noted a number of articles published by Western media in the latest campaign to denigrate Russia’s role in fighting terrorism in Syria. Here are just a few of the many examples: “Syria’s Idlib province pounded by Russian airstrikes, activists say” (The Washington Post, February 5); “Russia bombs Syria rebel strongholds after jet is shot down” (Newsweek, February 5); “Biggest airstrikes in a year hit Syria after rebels shoot down Russian jet” (The Guardian, February 6); “Devastating Russian airstrikes of retribution in Syria” (Deutsche Welle, February 5); “Russia launches an offensive after the jet is downed” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 5). These articles are obviously carbon-copies – their style and reasoning are strikingly similar. The misinformation comes down to allegations that the Russian Aerospace Forces are striking rebel strongholds in Idlib, killing civilians and damaging civilian infrastructure, including medical institutions. The Syrian Army is being groundlessly accused of using chemical weapons.


14.02.2018 - Embassy’s Press Officer on the chemical incidents in Syria

Q: Could you comment on the recent statements by a number of Western politicians and media claiming that Moscow and Damascus were responsible for the chemical weapons attacks in the course of the Syrian conflict? A: Russia is against any use of chemical weapons and is a strong supporter of chemical disarmament. In Syria we are in favour of conducting professional on-site investigations of all chemical incidents, something that has never been performed. Instead, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) relied on “evidence” provided by the self-styled activists and rescue organisations such as the White Helmets which are in fact colluding with al-Nusra and other terrorist groups.


12.02.2018 - Ushakov Medal presented to the Arctic Convoys Veterans

On 9-11 February 2018 Third Secretary of the Embassy Vadim Retyunskiy presented the Ushakov medals to the Arctic Convoys veterans Mr David SIMPSON and Mr George MOON


10.02.2018 - Embassy Press Officer on Boris Johnson’s comments on the humanitarian situation in Syria

Q: Would you please comment on the yesterday’s statement by the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the humanitarian situation in Syria? What is Russia’s position on this issue? A: The humanitarian situation in Syria remains predictably difficult. Russia continues to take efforts to provide aid to the civilian population, both directly and through international organizations. As regards to the situation in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib as well as in Afrin, Hasakah, Raqqa, Rukban camp and other areas, we share concerns of the UN agencies in Syria and we have repeatedly called on all parties to stop the hostilities.


09.02.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a ceremony on the occasion of Diplomats’ Day, Moscow, February 8, 2018

Colleagues, friends, We are grateful to our guests and comrades for accepting our invitation. I have the honour to declare this ceremony devoted to Diplomats’ Day open. (Anthem of the Russian Federation) * * * I would like to again express our gratitude to all those who have joined the Foreign Ministry staff and veterans on this occasion, including our colleagues from the Presidential Executive Office, the Government Executive Office, the Russian Security Council, ministries, agencies and other offices with which we maintain close and fruitful cooperation. My special thanks go to Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.


07.02.2018 - Shelling of the Russian trade mission building in Damascus

A 120-mm mortar shell hit the Russian trade mission building in Damascus (currently mothballed, but still under diplomatic immunity) on February 6 at approximately 4 pm local time. No casualties have been reported. The building was badly damaged. We strongly condemn this latest terrorist attack against the diplomatic mission of the Russian Federation in Damascus, which is part of a string of recent crimes committed by terrorists against civilians in the Syrian capital.


05.02.2018 - MFA statement on New START

According to Article II of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, Russia and the United States were to meet the following aggregate limits on strategic arms by February 5, 2018: - 700 deployed ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments; - 1,550 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments; - 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments. The Russian Federation has fully complied with its commitment to reduce its strategic offensive weapons.


02.02.2018 - Press release on Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov’s meeting with UK Foreign Office Political Director Karen Pierce

On February 2, the Foreign Ministry hosted a meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and Political Director of the Foreign Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Karen Pierce.



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