25 March 2019
Moscow: 03:33
London: 00:33

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386 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     378 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

11.05.2018

Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a question concerning the situation with consular access to Sergei and Yulia Skripal

Q. Russia has on numerous occasions accused the UK of violating consular conventions as regards access to the Russian nationals Sergei and Yulia Skripal. How does this correlate with the need to obtain their consent for such communication while, according to the British authorities, the Skripals do not want to speak to the Russian representatives?

A. The British side has informed us that Yulia Skripal is allegedly unwilling to communicate with the Embassy. It has refused consular access to Sergei Skripal citing his British citizenship. The British authorities claim that Russian nationals must absolutely provide their consent to communicate with consular officers.

We cannot accept such position. In Russia-UK bilateral relations, any communication between citizens and consular officers is regulated by the Consular Convention between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of 1965. According to its Article 36, “a consular officer shall be entitled within the consular district to communicate with, interview and advise a national of the sending State and may render him every assistance”. As one may see, Article 36 does not contain any reference to the requirement of a person’s consent for a consular visit.

In other terms, such communication is not just a right of a person, but also a right of a consular officer and, thus, a right of the sending State. This right of Russia is being grossly violated by the UK.

Such wording of the Convention is not accidental. A State violating the rights of a foreign national could have easily referred to his/her reluctance to seek protection by a consular officer. The authors of this agreement rightly determined that such reference cannot justify the refusal for communication between a citizen and a consul. The situation with Sergei and Yulia Skripal is a fine example of relevance of such logic of the Convention.

Article 36 also states that “in any case where a national of the sending state has been arrested or is held under any other form of detention… the consular officer shall have the right to visit and to communicate with him without delay”. In accordance with the official comments of the UN International Law Commission, this provision “applies also to other forms of detention (quarantine, detention in a mental institution)”. As the British authorities conceal Yulia Skripal from the public and make official statements on her behalf, such situation is obviously covered by this article.

As for the reference of the British authorities to Sergei Skripal’s British citizenship, it is also unacceptable for us, and that for the following reason. In accordance with Article 30 of the bilateral Consular Convention, “the term “national” shall mean any person whom the sending State recognises as its national”. Sergei Skripal was not stripped of his Russian citizenship (this is prohibited by the Russian Constitution) and did not withdraw from it voluntarily. He remains a Russian national and enjoys full right to communicate with Russian consular officers, and Russia enjoys full right to communicate with him as well. As we understand, the UK follows the same approach in its discussions on consular cases with dual citizens, for example in Iran.

Of course, we do not intend to impose our assistance to our citizens. They are free people. But, considering all circumstances, it is important for us to get assured of their well-being. We are not satisfied with the statements of the British officials that Yulia Skripal does not want to communicate with us. How can we be sure that she has genuinely expressed such will?

We intend to continue to demand an opportunity to communicate with the Skripals in person. If they don’t require our assistance, they can inform us directly. But if the British authorities continue to refuse to facilitate such a meeting, it will mean that the Skripals either have been forcibly isolated, or their condition is different from the one described in official statements.

On 10 May 2018 these positions were conveyed by the Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Dr Alexander Yakovenko, during his meeting with Director General, Consular and Security at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Philip Barton.




LATEST EVENTS

21.03.2019 - Introductory remarks by Lord West at the reception dedicated to Soviet War Memorial Trust, 20 March 2019

In 2005, as First Sea Lord, I had the great honour of being present in the ‘Hero City’ Murmansk on Victory Day, together with a party of over 300 British veterans, His Royal Highness the Duke of York, and the frigate HMS Sutherland. After a moving ceremony and parade in the city’s main square, I was invited to walk alongside the governor of the Murmansk Oblast and the Commander of the Northern Fleet at the head of a procession of veterans and citizens up to the huge statue of the soldier ‘Alyosha’ – the Monument to the Defenders of the Soviet Arctic – that stands on a high bluff overlooking the Kola Inlet, gazing across to the distant border with Norway that was protected with such determination and courage. There we laid wreaths to the fallen and remembered those who had died or been permanently affected by the terrible events of those years.


21.03.2019 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question regarding the reports of the incident with the Russian sailors in UK waters

Question: Does the Embassy have a statement to make regarding the Russian sailors who were found on an island in the Bristol Channel?


21.03.2019 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's introductory remarks at the reception dedicated to Soviet War Memorial Trust, 20 March 2019

It’s a great pleasure for me to host this reception today! We dedicate the today’s event to our friends from the Soviet War Memorial Trust. Their enthusiasm and dedication made it possible, that a unique monument, commemorated to the sacrifice of 27 million lives by the citizens and armed forces of the former Soviet Union in its joint struggle with the Western Allies to defeat Nazism during World War II, became a focus of Victory Day events in London. Memorial work nowadays takes a special place in activities of Russian MFA, and WWII memory is, of course, a top priority here. Collecting the information about military memorials, arranging repairs where needed and monitoring their condition – all this is a significant part of the work of many Embassies around the world. Our Ministry has signed multiple agreements on cooperation with various organizations and charities working in this area, such as the Russian Heritage committee here in the UK.


21.03.2019 - Statement by H.E. Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation at the Plenary Session of the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, March 20, 2019

Distinguished Mr. President, Distinguished Mr. Secretary-General Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, A year has passed since I last addressed this audience. By historical standards, this is a miniscule amount of time. Yet the events that have taken place over the year have brought us to the edge of a new era in arms control. A year ago, you and us still hoped that, by means of constructive dialogue, we altogether could overcome differences, find compromise solutions and give new impetus to the joint effort aimed at strengthening peace and maintaining global stability.


19.03.2019 - Ambassador Yakovenko met IGC Executive Director

On 19 March 2019 Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko met Executive Director of the International Grain Council (IGC)


19.03.2019 - Agricultural Attache V.Derbenskiy visits the International Food and Drink Event 2019

On 19 March the Agricultural Attaché of the Russian Embassy Vladimir Derbenskiy visited the International Food and Drink Event 2019, one of the most important food industry shows hosted in the UK.


18.03.2019 - Embassy Press Officer replies to a media question regarding the statement by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on the 5th anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia

Question: How would you react to today’s statement by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt who has again condemned the “illegal annexation” of the Crimean Peninsula that was a result of a “blatant land grab” and a “sham referendum”? Answer: This position is not new. It is based on a total disregard for the rights and interests of Crimeans, but also those of Ukrainians, whose president was removed in 2014 in an unconstitutional way and with the West’s direct support. Faced with a coup in Kiev, accompanied by a neo-Nazi frenzy and direct threats of violence in Crimea, the Crimean people decided that it could no longer exercise its right to self-determination within the Ukrainian state, declared independence and re-joined Russia.


16.03.2019 - Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at the Security Council Arria-Formula meeting on Crimea

Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at the Security Council Arria-Formula meeting on Crimea regarding “Fifth anniversary of the beginning of Russia’s occupation of Crimea: A blatant violation of international law” Distinguished Mr. President, At the outset let me express condolences to the friendly people of New Zealand regarding the disastrous events in Christchurch. We condemn this heinous crime. It should be investigated and any possible recurrences should be prevented. We hope that all the wounded will feel better and recover soon. There was a good storyteller Lewis Carrol. His most famous tale “Alice in Wonderland” tells us about a little girl who dreamt and thought it was real. I am having an impression that todays event is held by such “Alices” who tell us about their dreams. Their dreams are mainly scary and appalling.


14.03.2019 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on the UK position regarding humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria

Question: How would you comment on the UK position regarding humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria in the light of today’s International Donor Conference on Syria in Brussels? Answer: We have taken note of the FCO press release on the UK participation in this conference, stating that “humanitarian access to millions in need within Syria continues to be obstructed by the Syrian regime who routinely refuse requests from the UN and aid organisations to deliver aid”. These allegations are simply not true. In fact, the Syrian government makes every effort for delivering humanitarian aid to various parts of the country.


12.03.2019 - Welcome note by Ambassador Yakovenko at the reception to mark Russia’s participation in the London Book Fair 2019

I am delighted to welcome you today at the reception to mark Russia’s participation in this year’s London Book Fair. It has already become a tradition and the “Read Russia” stand is one of the “trademark features” of the Fair which opens tomorrow. The main goal of literature, as well as of culture in general, is to build bridges between different countries and bring our ties to a new level of connectivity, engaging new dimensions and areas of contacts. This role has grown only more important during the chaotic and unpredictable times we live in today.



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