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AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

05.10.2016

Why Russia was forced to suspend PMDA (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Russia has suspended the implementation of the Russia-US plutonium management and disposition agreement (PMDA). The agreement was signed at a time when our relations with the US were on an upswing. There was considerable hope that the role of crude force in politics would decline, international tensions would lessen and the practice of politically motivated sanctions would become history.

Unfortunately, these hopes were dashed. The Obama administration has done all it could to destroy the atmosphere of trust. In 2012, the United States adopted the Sergei Magnitsky Act, which applied unprecedented sanctions-related pressure on our country under contrived pretexts. Since 2014, following the reunification of Crimea with Russia, the US administration has taken a series of hostile steps directly aimed at undermining our economy and social stability. NATO military infrastructure is expanding with an increasing number of US troops in proximity to the Russian border. The scale of these activities call into question our partners’ willingness to comply with obligations under the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act on non-deployment of substantial combat forces in the territory of the Alliance’s new member states. The United States and its allies openly and freely discuss transitioning to a policy of containing Russia. They even threaten terrorist attacks in Russian cities.

All these actions taken by Washington are leading to a major shift in strategic stability and are increasingly limiting possibilities for Russian-US cooperation on reducing nuclear arsenals. Our decision is a signal to Washington that it cannot use the language of force, sanctions and ultimatums with Russia while continuing selective cooperation with our country only when it benefits the US. From the perspective of international law, this step is the result of a fundamental change in circumstances compared to when the agreement was signed under the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

There is one more aspect to the situation with the plutonium disposition agreement. The US started making unilateral changes to the agreed disposition strategy for its plutonium, citing the need to save time and resources. The strategy chosen by the US does not ensure irreversible elimination, allowing Washington to preserve its ability to reverse course. The US took this step when we had nearly finished building our own rather expensive facilities for plutonium disposition.

The suspension of PMDA doesn’t mean that Russia is withdrawing from its nuclear disarmament obligations, including reducing the amount of nuclear material used in arms programmes. Russia’s plutonium designated as no longer required for defence purposes will remain outside the defence industry.

It is important to understand that the decision Russia was forced to make is not designed to aggravate relations with the United States. We have only suspended our cooperation in this area. If Washington adjusts its political course and fully eliminates the circumstances it created that adversely altered the political, military and economic balance in the world, we will be ready to resume implementation of the agreement.




LATEST EVENTS

18.01.2017 - Back to basics in international relations (letter by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for Evening Standard, published on 17 January 2017)

Recently we have seen a trend of questioning electoral outcomes in Western nations under the pretext of undue outside interference, first of all “Russian influence”. It follows that outcome of the June referendum in Britain could be also challenged on those grounds. Not all find it preposterous. But will of the people is expressed within domestic environment.


22.12.2016 - Why the elites blame post-truth politics for their failures, by Ambassador Yakovenko for RBTH, published 22 December

Establishment leaders in Europe and America need a reality check and to address voters' genuine concerns in a globalized world. The year 2016 has seen truly epic failures of mainstream politics and media, most significantly at the British EU referendum and the American election. In both cases seasoned analysts could not see beyond their Westminster or Capitol bubbles and foresee the outcomes. Enraged as they were, they chose to blame outside forces, often pointing the finger at Moscow, which supposedly has more influence on Western voters than home politicians. More generally, they blamed their failures on “post-truth politics”, ie, assuming that new-wave politicians (and their line-up crosses the Cold War divide in the Euro-Atlantic) run fake news stories and take advantage of a total breakdown of trust in elites and their institutions. Indeed, progressively, we have been seeing the last of established politicians, and institutions falling into disarray and irrelevance.


20.11.2016 - Bringing peace to Syria (by Ambassador Yakovenko for "Sunday Mirror", published on 20.11.2016)

It has to be borne in mind that Russia sent its Air Force to Syria only on 30 September 2015. According to our Western interlocutors, it was a critical moment when Damascus was about to fall to the ISIS onslaught. The foreign terrorist organizations, proscribed by the UN, such as ISIS and “Nusra”, are the single most important factor that distorted the entire setup in Syria. In fact, the terrorists are leading the opposition militarily, including in East Aleppo. Accordingly, if they call the tune on the battlefield, they’ll do the same in Syria if they prevail. Our only strategy in Syria is to allow the Syrians to decide for themselves.


19.11.2016 - Collectivism and connectivity at the heart of APEC (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 19–20 November 2016, Lima hosts regular meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. 21 countries’ leaders gather in order to discuss pressing global and regional economic issues. The Summit takes place against the background of global political and economic turbulence. The ongoing shaping of new polycentric world order is accompanied by growing instability. In the Asia Pacific, the effects of these tendencies have been mitigated by major technological and financial potential that has enabled the region to maintain its leading positions in world affairs. However, it is evident that the growing challenges will have a negative impact on the prospects of long-term growth in the region.


18.11.2016 - OPCW decision on Syria is deeply regrettable (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The decision ensures unlimited inspections of the Syria’s military infrastructure and research facilities, which provide for the basic economic needs of the country, and in some cases the region as a whole. According to those who initiated and ensured the adoption of this decision, such inspections would ultimately allow the OPCW to assume total control over the defence, research and technological capacities of the sovereign state of Syria, which has been seriously undermined by the war that is being ignited and actively sponsored by external forces.


06.11.2016 - BRICS: a new model of global cooperation (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RBTH)

BRICS has become a solid inter-continental force within the existing system of global governance. There is nothing revolutionary or iconoclastic about it. It has evolved institutionally and intensified interaction among its members and demonstrated the capacity to contribute to the world’s prosperity and security. Its contribution to global GDP now stands at 31% compared with 24% in 2007.


03.11.2016 - 5 Things Everyone Needs To Know About Russia's Position On Syria (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

1. On 18 October, the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria and Syrian Air Force ceased airstrikes against terrorists in Aleppo. In coordination with the Syrian authorities Russia continues to take measures to overcome the dramatic humanitarian crisis in Syria. A new humanitarian pause will be declared in Aleppo on 4 November to ease the intensity of confrontation and allow civilians to exit from areas of combat operations. There are 6 humanitarian corridors arranged for the civilians with posts with hot meal and first medical aid, and 2 corridors are opened for the fighters withdrawing from the city with weapons. These efforts echo the initiative of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Syria Staffan de Mistura to allow “al-Nusra” fighters out of eastern Aleppo.


26.10.2016 - It’s time for West to see reason and stop supporting terrorists (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 21 October, on the UK initiative the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) met for the 25th special session to discuss the recent situation in Aleppo. Discussions have demonstrated a huge divergence of opinions and views on the realities in Aleppo and the Syrian crisis as a whole.


16.10.2016 - Syria. Who should be ashamed? (by Ambassador Yakovenko for The Observer)

The novel way of diplomacy, proposed by Foreign Secretary Johnson has so far materialized in a lone gentleman with a poster outside our Embassy – not something I would describe as a big diplomatic victory. But the very fact of having to resort to (non-existent) campaigners to make a point is, in my opinion, a sign of the state of Britain’s Syria policy. Some would say that Russia’s record on Syria has “also” been controversial – and here’s where I would strongly disagree.


05.10.2016 - Russian position on OPCW-UN JIM report on Syria (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Recently, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) has presented to the UN Security Council its third report, in which it concluded that the Syrian Armed Forces were allegedly involved in two cases of use of chemical weapons in Syria. While appreciating the significant amount of work done by the JIM and its experts, conclusions drawn by its Leadership Panel are hardly convincing. It has become obvious that due to objective reasons it had very little chance to conduct an effective investigation. One of the main problems was lack of access to the locations due to the dire security situation on the ground.



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