27 May 2019
Moscow: 06:47
London: 04:47

Consular queries:  
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449 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     441 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

24.05.2019 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question regarding Russian position on the UNGA Resolution on the Chagos Archipelago

Question: How can you comment on Russian position on the UN Resolution, based on the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965? Answer: The Russian Federation has backed the Resolution, because it is being considered as part of the process of decolonization.


24.05.2019 - Embassy Press Officer replies to a media question regarding a statement by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on cybersecurity

Question: How would you comment on the statement by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt accusing Russia of “targeting the critical national infrastructure” and trying to “change the result of elections” in many countries? Answer: Over the recent weeks, both Mr Hunt and his ministerial colleagues including Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt have been rather restrained in the way they spoke of Russia. Today, the Foreign Secretary has returned to the usual militant anti-Russia rhetoric that has nothing to do with the reality. As accusations against Russia over manipulation of US presidential elections or poisoning Sergey and Yulia Skripal are falling apart, Mr Hunt has turned to another well-known topic.


20.05.2019 - Embassy Press Officer’s comment concerning new articles in the British media on the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents

On 20 May “The Guardian” published a new leak concerning last year’s incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury. Its contents, based, as before, on information from “sources close to the investigation”, lead to following conclusions. First and foremost, it becomes increasingly clear that the loud-voiced accusations against Russia made right after the incident by Prime Minister Theresa May in March 2018 were not supported by any facts. For many months, investigators have attempted to credibly corroborate the government’s interpretation of those events, but, apparently, without any success. If one is to believe the newspaper’s source, law enforcement professionals are getting frustrated by constant political pressure they are experiencing.


20.05.2019 - Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the UN Security Council Meeting on Syria

Frankly speaking, we again have a feeling of deja vu. We heard same calls and laments many times already, when reconciliation of Eastern Aleppo and Ghouta was in progress. However, let me ask why the “humanitarian troika” did not hurry to convene a Security Council meeting, when the so-called coalition was razing Baghouz and Hajin to the ground? Back then civilians died, air strikes destroyed civil infrastructure, including schools and hospitals. What about Raqqa? Almost no one bothered about the fate of this city that in fact was destroyed.


17.05.2019 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media questionon an anti-Russian article in the “Financial Times”

Q: How would you comment on the FT article of 17 May stating that “a US-Iran conflict would provide cover for Russia to further their ambitions”, in particular “to annex eastern Ukraine or take a chunk of one of the Baltic states”? A: Such kind of “analysis” in the FT, well-known by its professionalism and strive for objectivity, is quite surprising.


17.05.2019 - Embassy Press Officer's letter to the Editor of the Financial Times

Embassy Press Officer's letter to the Editor of the Financial Times regarding the newspaper's piece dated 17 May 2019 on the Crimea Bridge - “Russian bridge throttles Ukraine ports”.


17.05.2019 - Embassy press officer’s reply to a media question concerning the BBC’s announcement of a new film about the incident in Salisbury

Question: How would you comment on the BBC’s plans to make a drama about the incident in Salisbury which took place in March last year? Answer: Undoubtedly, we will study this film carefully when it is released. At the same time we would like to recommend the filmmakers to rely upon real facts as well as official and credible information of the investigation. So far, no meaningful results of the inquiry have been presented either to the Russian side or to the public. In these circumstances, the film risks becoming another propaganda tool imposing on the audience the political version of the incident supported by no evidence.


16.05.2019 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question regarding biased approach of the British authorities towards holders of Russian diplomatic passports.

Question: Has there been any improvement in the working environment for the Russian diplomats in the UK? What’s the situation with the issuance of visas to the Embassy staff? Answer: Despite isolated statements of the British authorities, we are not observing any qualitative improvements of the situation. Moreover, in certain aspects it is only getting worse. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of cases of biased approach of the UK Border Force officials towards Russian diplomats arriving to the UK on short-term assignments, as well as guests of the Embassy staff members.


15.05.2019 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question regarding calls from British MPs to impose sanctions against Russia

Question: How would you comment on media publications that British MPs are calling to impose additional sanctions against Russia? Answer: We have taken note of the publications in local media that the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia, Chris Bryant, has urged Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to impose sanctions against Russia using the so-called “Magnitsky clause” to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act.


15.05.2019 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the state of the investigation into the death of Nikolay Glushkov

Q: Does the Embassy have any further information in relation to the investigation into the death of the Russian national Nikolay Glushkov in London? A.: More than a year has passed since Nikolay Glushkov’s death. Through all this time, the British authorities have been performing a strange political play, refusing to provide information on the investigation or to cooperate with the competent Russian authorities. The British side continues to ignore our numerous enquiries, including the official request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation for legal assistance over Russia’s own criminal case into the death of Nikolay Glushkov and the Embassy’s proposal to arrange a meeting between the Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko and the Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.



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