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500 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     492 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



President Putin’s interview to Mir Interstate Television and Radio Company

Prior to visiting Kyrgyzstan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit and Tajikistan to take part in the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, President Vladimir Putin answered the questions of Radik Batyrshin, President and Editor-in-chief of the Mir Interstate Television and Radio Company.

June 13, 2019


The Kremlin, Moscow

Question: Good afternoon, Mr President.

I would like to thank you for agreeing to this interview. We are meeting ahead of your visit to Kyrgyzstan, where a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will take place.

Our television and radio company broadcasts in almost all SCO member states, except China. Therefore, we know that most of our viewers consider the SCO to be something positive.

At the same time, most of them do not know what it is and what its purpose is. Could you please explain in a few words what the SCO is and what objectives do Russia and its allies set for the organisation at the present stage?

Vladimir Putin: The SCO is an international organisation that was created in the mid-1990s. This was related to the need to settle border issues between Russia, China and several republics of the former Soviet Union: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

After that, when this work was successfully completed and brought good practical results, we came to a conclusion that this format should be preserved and that a new status should be given to it. Namely, the status of an organisation that would be charged with the development of relations in various areas and directions. This is what happened.

Thus, it was created, and then it turned out that its objectives and the problems it resolved were interesting to other countries in the region. Therefore, many states – 18, I think – joined the organisation as full members and observers, and the SCO became a serious and multifaceted regional organisation.

Question: The SCO was created at China’s initiative. Recently, at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, you spoke against the trade war that the United States is waging against the People’s Republic of China. You said that Russia is the smart monkey that sits on a tree and watches two tigers fight. What did you mean by that?

Vladimir Putin: Firstly, the SCO was created not at China’s initiative, but at the initiative of all countries that took part in the negotiations on the border issues I mentioned. But yes, Russia and China, together, were the main initiators. Other partners took equal part in both the work and the creation of the SCO.

As for trade wars and my joke, when I recalled this Chinese proverb, you probably did not notice what I said after that. I said that we live in a complex world. Since these proverbs were created, the situation has changed radically, and today relations between Russia and China have special importance for both our countries and the global community in general – I can say that without exaggerating.

In fact, to answer your question, we are talking about a dispute between the world’s largest economies. There are many specific issues related to the current work of the two states.

China is a huge factory manufacturing goods for the whole world, including the United States. The US deploys its production facilities there, creating jobs. At the same time, when China sells its goods in foreign markets, including significant exports to the American market, it stores a significant part of the forex proceeds in US securities. There are a lot of specific ties between the two countries.

And of course, common sense tells us that we have no reason to interfere in this negotiation process. But there is a small hitch, albeit a significant one. First of all, we truly have an unprecedentedly good and wholesome relationship with China. We truly are strategic partners in every sense of the word. We cooperate in the economy, the humanitarian sphere, and at the regional level, and there is cooperation between our Foreign and Defence Ministries.

We are making a significant contribution to the maintenance of universal peace and security – not only in the region where our states are located, but also in the world as a whole. We coordinate our activities as permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Unfortunately, we cannot say anything of the kind about our relations with the US – they are in fact deteriorating, getting worse by the hour. In recent years, the current US administration has already taken several dozen decisions on sanctions with regard to Russia, I think.

On the contrary, our trade with China is growing, and has reached $108 billion. Last year, we set ourselves the target of reaching $100 billion, and we have already surpassed that at $108 billion.

I have very good and friendly relations with the leader of China, the President of the PRC. This also makes a significant contribution, as it creates an atmosphere of trust. And naturally, in these conditions, our sympathies are with our strategic partners – this much goes without saying.

This mainly happens because any action that undermines the international economic relations architecture that has been in place for decades is detrimental to all participants in economic activity; this is our profound conviction.

Therefore, we strongly hope that common sense will triumph in the end. I hope that with all our partners, including our American partners, the United States, we will be able to work out some constructive solutions during the upcoming G20 meeting, creating the necessary stable conditions for economic cooperation.

Question: From Kyrgyzstan you will go directly to Dushanbe, where the leaders of nearly half of the world will meet for the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA). What is the practical importance of this international format?

Vladimir Putin: It is a broad-based format created at the initiative of Kazakhstan’s first President, Nursultan Nazarbayev. It is an additional venue where regional leaders can meet to discuss the situation in the huge Asian region. It concerns the Middle East and South Asia.

There are many issues and problems in the region that require special attention, from the chronic Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Afghanistan, Iran and Iran’s nuclear programme, North Korea and its nuclear programme, and much more. There are very many issues for discussion.

Of course, we are concerned about the Middle East, but we are equally worried about Iran’s nuclear programme and North Korea. We are closely monitoring the developments in Afghanistan. I would like to say that we are energetically and, I believe, effectively collaborating on this issue with many countries, including the United States, which is running an operation and is responsible for the situation in Afghanistan.

We have been contributing to these efforts, and I strongly hope that our cooperation in this sphere will yield positive results. Overall, I would like to say again, concluding my answer with what I have said at the beginning, that there will be very many issues in the focus of our discussion.

Question: Speaking about Kazakhstan, the country has a new president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. What are your expectations of cooperation with the new leaders of Kazakhstan?

Vladimir Putin: To begin with, President Tokayev studied in Moscow and knows Russia very well. I have reasons to believe that this leader will definitely carry on the policy of the first President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the policy of rapprochement with Russia and the development of allied relations in all spheres, including industry, agriculture and the science-driven spheres such as space exploration.

We have several large projects. We strongly hope that all our plans will be implemented. I have no reason to expect any problems here.

On the contrary, I believe that the increase in our mutual trade, which keeps growing, and the diversification of our ties will only improve the conditions for cooperation between our countries and also at the human level between our citizens.

There are millions of contacts and ties between our people. This humanitarian aspect of our cooperation is extremely important. It covers social issues and everything else concerned with social security and so forth.

There are also infrastructure aspects that cover not simply bilateral but trilateral and quadrilateral relations. There are very ambitious, I would say, huge plans and projects. I am confident that they will be implemented.

Question: At the St Petersburg Econoic Forum, you gave your first assessment of Vladimir Zelensky’s actions as President of Ukraine. Now the new election campaign is in full swing there, this time to parliament. Does this mean that relations between Russia and Ukraine have once again been paused?

Vladimir Putin: I hope you do not mind, but I have to correct you a little. I gave no assessment of President Zelensky’s actions at the forum, because there have been no actions so far. I could not have done it because of this fact: he has just taken office.

I can judge by myself: it will take a lot of time to understand the tasks he is facing. I hope that he will adapt to his new office quite quickly.

Speaking about our interactions with Ukraine, I have said this many times and can repeat this once again, I believe there is no way around restoring our relations; it is inevitable. Things cannot stand the way they are now between two parts of the same nation or, rather, two brotherly nations.

This does not depend on our relations with the political elites of the past, for example, the people who put their personal success and their personal gain at the forefront of everything they did and their whole lives, along with the preservation of the fortune they amassed at the expense of the Ukrainian people and kept somewhere abroad. This is where their love for the West comes from, I suppose.

But I hope that the new leadership has no such limitations, and feels free relying on the trust the Ukrainians placed in the elected President, so it will be able to operate proactively and work towards restoring relations between Ukraine and Russia, as well as on solving domestic problems. It will not hide behind anti-Russian fabrications and ideas in order to evade internal Ukrainian problems, in the economy and social sphere above all.

Question: Mir also covers Moldova, Ukraine’s neighbour that is plagued by a political crisis, a full-fledged political crisis. How do you assess the political situation in Moldova?

Vladimir Putin: I think the situation in Moldova is not unique, by any means. But it is the most revealing, because the authorities in Moldova, as well as partly in Ukraine, were in the full and literal sense of the word usurped by oligarchic groups, by oligarchs, who brought all government agencies to heel – absolutely everything: the law-enforcement sphere, the parliament, you name it. That is, they made their fortunes at the expense of the Moldovan people and used them to improve their personal welfare and to put pressure on the state.

All that President Dodon and his recent opponents – pro-Western parties one could say – have done, after all, was actually a step towards building a full-fledged, civilised, modern state.

We will certainly support both President Dodon and his current coalition partners so that they eventually get rid of those people, to put it politely, who have usurped power in Moldova, and, despite some possible internal controversy, still find it in themselves to build joint work in the interests of the Moldovan state and the Moldovan people. And we will certainly support them.

Question: Many people refer to our Mir Television and Radio Company as the core of the common information space in the CIS. How do you see the prospects for the development of our common information space?

Vladimir Putin: This is a very important sphere.

First, it must be open, this space. There should be a minimal number of restrictions. And if there are any, they should be prompted exclusively by security reasons or some generally recognised elements of morality, I should say.

In general, this information space should be as open as possible, so that all sources of information are protected, respected and can work effectively. Moreover, the less politicised they are, the better. Information should be spread freely – I mean freedom not in the interests of those who spread it, but in the interests of the citizens who use this information.

I strongly hope that the presentation of the content will be interesting, creative and meaningful, and all citizens of our countries will be able to use it to better understand each other, to understand what is happening with their neighbours and to study the best practices that are used in our states to implement them at home.




10.07.2019 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question regarding the Russian delegation to the Global Conference on Media Freedom not given visas

Question: How would you comment on UK’s decision not to issue a visa to the Russian delegate who intended to participate in the Global Conference on Media Freedom? Answer: It is well-known that visas for official travel have become one of the problems of the current Russia-UK relations. But even in these conditions not issuing a visa to a representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry travelling to participate in the conference looks really weird. The UK side itself invited the Russian side to participate in the conference, accredited the Russian delegate, but then refused to issue him a visa, thus sabotaging the visit.

09.07.2019 - Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova's answer to a media question on the refusal of the British authorities to accredit Russian news agencies at an international conference in London

Question: What could you say about the refusal of the British authorities to accredit the Russian news agencies RT and Sputnik at the Global Conference for Media Freedom? Maria Zakharova: One gets the impression that having announced an event with a flashy title, London decided to show the whole world an example of manipulating public opinion. Judge for yourself. One of the main declared goals of this forum is to unite diplomatic efforts to protect media freedom and discuss violations of the rights of media workers. So what do we have in reality?

06.07.2019 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on the seizure of the Panama-flagged tanker by Gibraltar authorities

We condemn the seizure of the super tanker sailing under the Panama flag on July 4, conducted by the Gibraltar authorities aided by Great Britain’s Royal Marine Commando unit. We view the seizure of the vessel and its cargo as a deliberate action aimed at aggravating the situation around Iran and Syria. Laudatory comments by top US and British officials immediately after the operation confirm this conclusion and prove that the action had been long in the making with the involvement of respective services and agencies of several countries.

05.07.2019 - Embassy Press Release on RT channel’s accreditation to the Global Conference for Media Freedom

As we have learned, British organisers of the Global Conference for Media Freedom, due to take place in London on 10-11 July, have refused to accredit journalists from the RT channel. The reason given was that the quota of journalists invited to the Conference had already been reached – and that despite the fact that RT had sent the request several weeks ago and has long been trying, unsuccessfully, to get a meaningful reply.

04.07.2019 - Embassy comment on the situation concerning the Salisbury incident with Russian nationals Sergei and Yulia Skripal

16 months have passed since the mysterious incident in Salisbury. The British side continuously ignores multiple appeals by Russia to clear up the circumstances surrounding the incident, provide transparency of the investigation, allow access to the affected Russian citizens and launch substantive cooperation to establish, what and how happened in Salisbury in reality. As before, 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 over Russia’s own criminal case have been left unanswered. At the same time the British authorities continue to take an aggressive stance towards Russia, while claiming to have irrefutable evidence that our country was behind the incident. However, the British side does not bother to present the “evidence” either to Russia, or to their own allies, or to the public.

04.07.2019 - Embassy press officer’s comment regarding access to Crimea for international monitors

On 3 July Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced that during general debate in the UN Human Rights Council the British delegation called on Russia “to grant international human rights monitors access to illegally annexed Crimea”. Leaving aside the issue of “illegal annexation” (Russia’s stance on this subject is well-known), we would like to stress that the Republic of Crimea is open for visits of all international delegations and any foreign guests in general, on equal terms with all the other regions of our country. The FCO statement is therefore confusing. We consider it as yet another example of abuse of human rights issues by our British colleagues.

01.07.2019 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the BBC’s publication on the Salisbury incident

Question: How would you comment on the BBC’s publication of 28 June which contains new “information” on the supposed “coordinator” of the Salisbury poisoning? Answer: As previously, this publication is based on reports from the untrustworthy “investigative” group Bellingcat and information provided by anonymous sources to the journalist Mark Urban, which are impossible to verify. This, predictably, raises a number of questions.

01.07.2019 - Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on the meeting between President Putin and Prime Minister Theresa May, 28 June 2019

Question: What was President Putin’s answer to Mrs May’s question on the Skripal case? He outlined his position in the «Financial Times» interview but what did he say directly to Mrs May? Was she satisfied? Answer: It’s hard to say whether she was. Mrs May had indeed raised the Skripals incident in a rather tough manner, while the Russian President gave a detailed explanation on everything worth explaining. We all know that the British side has so far provided no evidence to support its accusations on the case. Neither to us, nor to their European allies, nor to North American ones. Otherwise, the evidence would have already been somehow made public.

01.07.2019 - E-visas introduced for visiting Russia’s Kaliningrad Region

From 1 July 2019, electronic visas are introduced for visiting the Kaliningrad Region of Russia. E-visas may be obtained online at http://electronic-visa.kdmid.ru/klgd_home.html. Nationals of 53 states are eligible for an e-visa. These include all EU member states, except the United Kingdom.

29.06.2019 - President Putin’s news conference

Following the G20 summit, the President of Russia answered journalists’ questions. June 29, 2019, 10:50, Osaka

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