17 September 2019
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562 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     554 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



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

Mr. President,

We thank Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock for their briefings.

Mr. President,

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.

Let us recall what happened in Raqqa. This is never unnecessary, especially since this is something one prefers not to hear about and would like to forget. We recommend to get acquainted with the publication by Amnesty International – a global human rights watchdog. This publication speaks about events that took place two years ago. Human rights advocates accomplished painstaking and thorough work which resulted in them stating that after thousands of indiscriminate strikes of air forces and artillery of the so-called coalition and its allies, over 1500 civilians died, 11 thousand buildings and infrastructure facilities were ruined. Let me remind that our Western partners used to claim that the operation in Raqqa had been nearly the most precise air campaign in history. They took responsibility for the death of only 159 people.

It is time double standards regarding what is going on in Syria were abandoned. For example, we encounter moralizing about Rukban, though all the problems of Rukban have to do with militants from "Mahavir as-Saura" who, with the acquiescence of the U.S., prevent IDPs from voluntarily leaving the camp and restrict their rights. As of May 15, 12 thousand people had left Rukban. We hope our American colleagues will change their nonconstructive approach or better yet – stop the illegal occupation of a part of sovereign Syrian territory. In any case, the occupying state is responsible for the population residing in the occupied areas according to the Geneva conventions. This is not politicizing of the issue of Rukban. Geneva conventions are the groundwork of the international humanitarian law. To pre-empt the comment that might be coming, let me say that no fight against terrorism can justify occupation.

In contrast to Rukban, we see no lamenting and no concerns about pitiful humanitarian state of affairs in IDP camp “Al-Houl” in the North-East of Syria, which is out of control of the Syrian authorities. The camp is overcrowded, there are women and children inside, their rights are violated, humanitarian aid is by far insufficient. Instead of helping to establish a standing flow from the Damascus-controlled territories, there are insistent attempts to organize deliveries of humanitarian aid through the non-transparent cross-border mechanism.

Mr. President,

We reject point blank any accusations of violating the international humanitarian law. Neither the Syrian army, nor the Russian Air-Space Forces carry out military action against civil population and infrastructure. Our target is terrorists - the thing some of you prefer to keep silent about.

Once again, we call upon the UN Secretariat and specialized agencies, including WHO not to hurry and throw into the public space unverified information about civilian casualties and damage to the civilian infrastructure. Data should come from credible non-politicized sources and it should be carefully double-checked to determine, i.a. if the facilities that were allegedly stricken had gone through the deconfliction procedures. Instead of this, what we are treated to is data coming from “reliable sources”. When we ask to name those sources, you refuse. Are we speaking about the “heroic” White Helmets?

The Syrian government as well as the Russian representatives always try to prevent violence and settle situation peacefully whenever possible, even if it is about illegal armed formations. Reconciliation at the major part of the Syrian territory was achieved through negotiations.

In Idlib there is one impediment – unstopping aggression of terrorists from “Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham” that have provoked serious escalation of tension in the governorate. The militants continuously carry out attacks on the positions of governmental forces and shell at adjacent settlements. It is peaceful population and Syrian military that are victims of those attacks. Today we heard about people who died from missile strikes, but you shied away from saying that those civilians in Aleppo and Hama die from missiles launched by Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham. By the way, the Russian Centre for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria received operative information verified by independent sources that terrorists from “Nusra” are planning another chemical provocation in Saraqib to subsequently blame Damascus for it.

On April 27 about 130 terrorists attacked defense location of the Syrian government in the vicinity of Suqaylabiyah in the North-West of Hama governorate. The Syrian army struck back, but sustained losses of 26 people who were killed and over 40 who were wounded. Over the first fortnight of May, attacks by Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham killed 22 Syrian military servicemen and 4 civilians, and wounded approximately 100 people.

Provocations of jihadists pose a significant threat to security of Russian air base “Khmeimim” and the lives of our military. The militants make active use of multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) and combat UAVs. Late in April and early in May terrorists used to fire rocket missiles at the air base. We downed 18 combat UAVs as they were approaching “Khmeimim”.

In response to such aggressive outings and provocations by terrorists from Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, on May 6-11 the Syrian governmental forces, supported by the Russian Air-Space Forces, had to take counter-measures to oust terrorists from the areas that they were stationed in as they fired at “Khmeimim” and the Syrian armed forces. Strikes were launched only against terrorists’ facilities identified as such by intelligence data. As a result, we managed to clear areas that housed the largest share of terrorists in the South of Idlib de-escalation zone. 

However, even after the Syrian forces terminated the military action, terrorists from Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham set forth their aggression. On May 13, two teams of people from illegal armed formations (650 militants in total), supported by the artillery, 10 tanks and 4 armored vehicles, attacked positions of the Syrian armed forces in proximity of Kafr Zeita and Suqaylabiyah which resulted in two Syrians dead and 9 more wounded.

Mr. President,

Russia reiterates unwavering commitment to agreements about stabilization in Idlib, including the Russian-Turkish memorandum dated September 17, 2018. At the moment the defense ministries of Russia and Turkey negotiate reliable stabilization for the North-West of Syria and eradication of the terrorist threat that comes from there. Let me emphasize, for those of you who raise concerns regarding what is going on in Idlib, actions of the Syrian army and of those who support it: this memorandum by no means says that terrorists should be spared. On the contrary, it reiterates the commitment of the signatories to counter terrorism. We refuse to take terrorists for “untouchables” and we will continue our fight against them despite laments coming from some of our partners.

We start thinking that someone just “covers up” for terrorists in Idlib to spare them for some unscrupulous purposes. Protection of the civil population serves as the main argument, despite the fact that we care about them not less than you do, and we realize that in fact they are hostages of terrorists who are taking roots in Idlib.

Instead of promoting specific self-serving agenda in Syria that seeks to change the regime, everyone should consolidate efforts to stabilize situation in SAR, collectively eradicate terrorism, embark on post-conflict building, and help refugees get back. I would like to return to our American colleagues the accusation of Russia destabilizing the region. We have different assessments of who used to and does de-stabilize the region. What is really important is to prevent escalation in the Persian Gulf related to growing disputes between the U.S. and Iran. This will give impetus to political settlement in the entire region; otherwise, it will plunge into chaos.

Russia will set forth efforts to bring peace back to Syria. We will do it in our national capacity, in our capacity of a Permanent Member of the Council, and also in the framework of “Astana troika” that has done more than any other format in terms of de-escalation and reduction of terrorist threat, expansion of humanitarian aid, and, most importantly, laying the groundwork for political process.

Thank you.

In response to the representative of Great Britain:

Thank you, Mr. President,

The distinguished representative of Great Britain asked a question that implied that representatives of Syria and Russia should answer it. The distinguished representative of Great Britain was absent from the room – for a good reason, I know this – when I was making my statement. I would like to say that we asked the very same question to representatives, for example, of the World Health Organization. We requested information about the medical facilities that had been destroyed and asked to name the sources of this information. Our request was rejected, on the pretext that disclosure might harm those who shared the data. That is why we are just as eager as you to learn the answer to this question.

By the way, you mentioned that given the “non-surgical” strikes that Russian Air-Space Forces allegedly launched against facilities in Idlib governorate, you would not like to get to a medical facility in Russia. I genuinely wish to you never to find yourself in any medical facility whatsoever, God forbid. However, in Russia there are very good medical centers. Should you need something – just let us know.

To sum up, if the WHO or other UN health organizations share with you any information about the sources of what we are discussing and you share it with us – we will very much appreciate it.

Thank you. 




17.09.2019 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on attack against oil infrastructure facilities in Saudi Arabia

According to media reports, a large-scale drone attack was launched in the early hours of September 14 against oil refineries of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company Saudi Aramco near the cities of Abqaiq and Khurais in the eastern part of the Kingdom. The Houthi Ansar Allah movement, now fighting against forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and the Arabian Coalition supporting him in Yemen, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

17.09.2019 - Joint Statement by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the President of the Russian Federation and the President of the Republic of Turkey

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran H.E. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Russian Federation H.E. Vladimir Putin and President of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gathered in Ankara on 16 September 2019 for a Tripartite Summit.

12.09.2019 - Press release by Russian MFA on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement

Moscow has taken note of the Arab countries’ highly negative reaction to the statement made by Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu regarding his intention to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley. We share concerns over these Israeli plans, the implementation of which can lead to a dramatic escalation of tensions in the region and undermine hopes for a long awaited peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

12.09.2019 - Embassy comment on the state of the investigation into the death of Nikolay Glushkov

12 September 2019 marks exactly one year and half since Russian national Nikolay Glushkov was murdered in London under mysterious circumstances. We regret to state that the British side has failed to provide any meaningful reply to our numerous enquiries. Since April 2018 the Home Office has been ignoring 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. The British authorities have also been silent regarding the Embassy’s repeated proposals to arrange a meeting between the Russian Ambassador and the Met Police Commissioner or hold law-enforcement experts’ bilateral contacts.

12.09.2019 - Wizz Air UK to launch new services to Moscow and St Petersburg

The UK-based airline Wizz Air UK has announced that it will launch two new services from its London Luton base to Russia’s Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow and Pulkovo Airport in St Petersburg. Both routes will commence on 1 October 2019 and operate daily.

11.09.2019 - Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov`s interview to the National Institute of Information of Suriname, September 11, 2019

Sergey Lavrov: It is true, the relations between Suriname and Russia have gained new momentum in the recent years. A number of landmark events contributed to it: the first-ever visit of Yildiz Pollack-Beighle, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Suriname, to Russia in October 2017, and the signing of two fundamental instruments establishing framework for our bilateral cooperation; I refer to the Agreement on Basic Principles of Relations and the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Conditions for Waiving Visa Formalities in the Mutual Visits of the Citizens of our countries. We regard Suriname as an important partner in developing multifaceted cooperation with the States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). We aim at enhancing cooperation with this subregion in such priority areas as facilitating sustainable development, providing assistance in disaster response, training of diplomatic, law-enforcement, and emergency services officials of the Caribbean States, increasing educational, tourist, cultural, humanitarian and sport exchanges, promoting economic initiatives.

08.09.2019 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on the exchange of prisoners held in custody in Russia and Ukraine

We view the agreed reciprocal release of persons held in custody on the territories of Russia and Ukraine as a positive signal to be followed by other important steps to overcome the current deadlock in Russia-Ukraine relations and in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. It was made possible by fulfilling the agreements reached personally by the presidents of Russia and Ukraine. Unlike its predecessors, Vladimir Zelensky’s administration showed a reasonable approach and readiness to compromise. We hope this step will create a positive background for substantive work within the Minsk Contact Group and in the Normandy format.

06.09.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the MIC Izvestia multimedia information centre Vladivostok, September 4, 2019

I would say that international relations continue to get steadily worse. It is a process that cannot be stopped yet. You see how our American colleagues along with their closest, most loyal allies are actually aiming to undermine the entire international legal system that developed after the Second World War, including the strategic stability and arms control agreements reached over the past decades. In the early 2000s, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was unilaterally terminated. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty has just fallen apart, and it is not clear whether the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-3 or New START) will get extended. In general, the international law institutions that were created after the Second World War and developed on the basis of universal agreements are now undergoing the most severe trials. The very term “international law” is used less and less often by our Western colleagues. They prefer to talk about some “rule-based order.” As practice shows, they invent these rules on the spot to suit their current needs and try to convince everyone else that these are multilateral decisions that everyone must follow.

04.09.2019 - Embassy comment on the situation concerning the Salisbury incident with Russian nationals Sergei and Yulia Skripal

18 months have now passed since the mysterious incident in Salisbury. Despite our numerous appeals to the British side for transparency of the investigation, access to the affected Russian nationals, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and substantive cooperation to clarify the circumstances surrounding the incident, no clear answer has been received. More than 80 Notes Verbales sent to the Foreign Office and the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation for legal assistance have been ignored so far. We would like to recall just a few of critical points that make the political version voiced right after the incident untrustworthy.

04.09.2019 - Joint statement following the 20th India-Russia annual summit ”Reaching new heights of cooperation through trust and partnership“

At the jubilee 20th Annual Summit, both leaders noted progressive development of the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia. These relations are unique, confiding and mutually beneficial by nature, encompassing all possible areas of cooperation. They are based on similar civilizational values, time-tested friendship, mutual understanding, trust, common interests and proximity of approaches to the fundamental issues of development and economic progress. Regular meetings of the leaders of the States, including those on the sidelines of various international fora and growing momentum of bilateral contacts at all levels are a vivid proof of this Partnership.

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