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Ambassador Andrei Kelin's address at the international conference «A Decade of War in Syria», 15 March 2021

Thank you very much for a timely opportunity to reflect on one of the world’s deadliest conflicts and the fate of the long-suffering people. This month marks 10 years since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” in Syria.

What had been peaceful rallies at first, was quickly fuelled by the significant foreign interference and within several months had grown up into fierce clashes with the government forces. Later it paved the way for a full-scale civil war. The dire situation was further aggravated when ISIL and a number of other terrorist groups conquered significant part of the country’s territory, causing even more unbearable damage to the economy, infrastructure, human and cultural legacy of the Syrian Arab Republic.

At the request by President Assad in order to support the Syrian armed forces in their fight against extremists, in September 2015 the Russian Parliament voted in favour of sending contingent of our troops to Syria.

Russia has played the decisive role in eliminating the hotbed of international terrorism in the country. As a result of the significant diplomatic as well as military efforts, today the ceasefire is maintained on the major part of the country’s territory. Nevertheless, the job is not yet finished: the situation in Idlib Province, as well as in the north-east of the country and in At-Tanf area in the south, de-facto occupied by the US, is still a matter of our deep concern.

Russian military cooperate with their Turkish counterparts on improving security of the vital M4 motorway, connecting Latakia and Aleppo. They also conduct joint patrolling of the contact line between pro-Turkish and Kurdish militias in the north-east. It is a huge responsibility and requires delicate work from everyone involved.

On the political track, we consider the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 to be the only viable roadmap to put an end to the Syrian conflict. It is obvious there is no military solution. Russia is committed to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence of Syria as well as its people’s right to decide for themselves on their future. We urge all the international community without exception to unconditionally respect and follow these principles. A breakthrough in political settlement will be welcome, but realistically we first need to see a step-by-step, yet consistent progress in line with the resolution.

From our part, in order to encourage the political process, the trilateral high-level forum, so-called Astana format, was created by Russia, Iran and Turkey in 2017. The initiative has proven to be the only effective international mechanism to support the settlement in Syria. Its 15th meeting was held in the Russian city of Sochi on 16-17 February. We once again brought together Syrian government representatives, opposition members, observers from Arab states, UN Special Envoy and UN agencies representatives. The work is ongoing, it requires consistent and meticulous efforts from everyone involved.

As a result, the Drafting Commission of the Syrian Constitutional Committee was established in 2018. Last January its 5th meeting took place in Geneva. The road is bumpy, but it has to be taken by the Syrian sides, with the international community playing a supportive role. Having said that, we do not believe imposing artificial timing to complete this work would be particularly helpful in itself.

The progress on the security and political tracks has to be bolstered by the improvement of the socioeconomic situation. This will help to create favourable conditions for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons.

In November 2020, Damascus hosted the first international conference on the repatriation of Syrian refugees. The event, supported by Russia, was attended by over 20 countries, including several Arab states. We believe this was a promising sign of the international community recognizing the importance of practical steps to deal with the repatriation challenges. Unfortunately, Western countries, including the UK, preferred to ignore the conference, which can hardly be explained in the light of their declared commitment to assist Syrian people. We look forward to a change in the approach from our colleagues in the West.

Development in Syria is being hindered not only by the consequences of conflict and COVID pandemic, but also by the illegal unilateral sanctions imposed on Syria by the US, the UK and some of their allies. These restrictive measures not only put obstacles to the economic recovery, but also prevent essential purchases of pharmaceuticals, medical and construction equipment. This is morally corrupt and unacceptable. We took note of the letters sent to President Biden and Prime Minister Johnson last January, requesting to lift anti-Syrian sanctions. Among its 90 signatories there are representatives of academia and clergy, journalists, humanitarian workers, former ambassadors of the UK, Germany, France and Tunisia to Syria, as well as a member of the House of Lords. We urge the US and UK authorities to listen to these voices, if they do not find our arguments convincing enough.

Russia has been at the forefront of humanitarian work in Syria, as well as other forms of support for the country’s development. Since September 2015 Russia has delivered more than 4700 tons of humanitarian cargo. Russian private companies carry out reconstruction projects in several Syrian provinces, including rebuilding of schools, hospitals, power plants and other infrastructure facilities. A comprehensive strategic programme for our bilateral economic cooperation is being prepared.

All of you know pretty well that it is not enough. The Syrian population is in desperate need of humanitarian aid. The policy of Western countries, including the UK – to deliver aid to opposition-controlled areas only, while strangling the rest of the country with sanctions. It is cruel and raises huge concerns. It is vital to reach out to help all the Syrians, regardless of where they live and whom they support, without discrimination and preconditions.

Instead of providing occasional support to neighbouring countries, where Syrian refugees reside on a temporary basis, the assistance should be directed to those willing to return. It will also help to ease the socioeconomic burden on the host countries.

So my message is this. It is clear that Syria has overcome the most gruesome challenges of civil war and terrorist invasion. However, the country faces a thorny path to get back to normal. It is long overdue for all the international community, and here I turn to the UK authorities, to support this process by getting involved into reconstruction and helping people to build back better. Better late than never.

Thank you for your attention.

15 March 2021; 18:00



Ambassador Andrei Kelin's interview with RT, 26 March 2021

Ambassador Andrei Kelin gave an interview to RT, speaking on the current state of Russia-UK relations and their prospects.


Ambassador Andrei Kelin's interview to LBC, 20 March 2021

Ambassador Andrei Kelin's interview to LBC


Ambassador Andrei Kelin's address on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Ladies and gentlemen! Dear friends! Today, the Holocaust Remembrance Day is marked worldwide. 76 years ago the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Red Army. Regrettably, due to the coronavirus restrictions, we cannot meet at the Soviet War Memorial like we would normally do. Nevertheless, it is essential for all of us to remember one of the darkest, most tragic and shameful chapters in the history of mankind. It is a powerful reminder of the perils of discrimination and intolerance, of just how catastrophic and barbaric the incitement to racial hatred can be.


Christmas Concert 2020

We hope you enjoy our festive concert of classical music with performances by Nadey Hakim (clarinet), Aleem Kandur (violin), Victor Maslov (piano) and Nina Mishchenko (harp). Your hosts for the evening will be Anastasia and Ilya Erofeev.


Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s address on the occasion of installing the memorial to the Soviet pilots in Errol, Scotland

Dear friends! Today, on 11th November, Remembrance Day, the memorial to the Soviet pilots has been installed in Errol, Scotland, also commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II. I would like to say a few words about that episode of the war. The Soviet Union desperately needed airplanes, and in 1943, in the heat of the bloody battles, the British Government passed over a number of twin-engine Albemarle bombers. To perform the secret task of transporting them, a group of pilots from the Moscow special air group have come to the airbase in Errol in 1943 where they joined the RAF 305 Squadron, formed to prepare Soviet aircrew.


Ambassador Andrei Kelin's message of congratulations on the occasion of the 175th Anniversary of the St Mary and St Nicholas Church in Wilton

Dear Rector Wood, Dear congregation, On behalf of myself and everyone at the Russian Embassy in London please accept our most sincere congratulations on the occasion of the 175th Anniversary of the St Mary and St Nicholas Church in Wilton. On this momentous day it is an honourable pleasure to remember that our Russian compatriots have played a decisive role in building the Church, as it was done upon the initiative of Catherine Woronzow, Countess of Pembroke. It is a vivid demonstration of how powerful we can be when we join the efforts of all the faithful and those compassionate toward the present and the future of the church.


Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s on The Agenda with Stephen Cole at CGTN, 08.08.2020

Ambassador Andrei Kelin gave an interview to Stephen Cole on CGTN Europe's "TheAgenda".


Ambassador Andrei Kelin's interview with ITV News, 21 July 2020

Ambassador Andrei Kelin gave an interview to ITV News, speaking on the release of the Russia Report and the current state and prospects of Russia-UK relations.


Ambassador Andrei Kelin's interview with Sky News, 21 July 2020

Q: Thank you Mr Ambassador for speaking to us today. My first question is have you seen the report today, have you read it, what do you think? A: Yes, of course, I’ve seen it and and I have read it this morning. My first impression is that the Shakespeare’s phrase is very much applicable to it: much ado about nothing. The report is called “Russia”. But if you put the name of any other country, it will be the same, because this report is not about Russia. It is about the relationship between different intelligence agencies inside the UK.


Ambassador Andrei Kelin's interview to Andrew Marr on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC

Ambassador Andrei Kelin gave an interview to Andrew Marr on his BBC programme The Andrew Marr Show

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