4 March 2015
Moscow: 06:47
London: 02:47

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PRESS RELEASES

01.03.2014

RUSSIA REACTS TO THREATS IN UKRAINE, BUT COUNTS ON A POLITICAL SOLUTION

In recent days, the situation in Ukraine has deteriorated rapidly. The agreements reached between President Yanukovych and the opposition on 21 February have been scrapped by opposition leaders: the legitimate Head of State that was supposed to remain in office has been effectively ousted from the country, an interim president has been appointed, presidential elections have been set for 25 May, no steps have been made in the area of constitutional reform or joint investigation. That the protest leaders treat their words and signatures so lightly was no surprise for us. But it is astonishing how easily those external mediators who sealed the agreement, namely the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France and Poland, have declared the deal to have been "overtaken by events".

But more importantly, rather than taking account of the numerous appeals to national unity and reconciliation, political power in Kiev has been concentrated in the hands of far-right extremist elements that do not hide their xenophobic, anti-Semitic, neofascist credentials. Not surprisingly, one of the first decisions of the new rulers was to abolish the law on regional languages, a move that has caused concern not only among Russian-speakers, but also in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece. This has coincided with a widespread campaign of intimidation of ethnic Russian population and desecration of monuments celebrating Russia's and Ukraine's common historical achievements such as the defeat of Nazism in the Second World War. Russian Orthodox priests have become object of threats. Attempts were made to seize the Orthodox shrines, such as the Kiev Pechersk Laura and the Pochayev Laura.

The situation of the Russian community in the Crimea has become particularly precarious. As soon as rallies erupted to express protest against with the way the Kiev events had unfolded, the Crimeans were accused of separatism and were threatened with force. There has been a lot of speculation regarding movements of troops of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, taken as a precautionary measure in full compliance with the relevant bilateral agreements with Ukraine. During the night of 1 March, unknown armed men sent from Kiev tried to seize the building of the Crimea Interior Ministry. Only decisive actions by self-defence groups allowed to stop that provocation that has left many people injured.

Most recently, the leader of the "Right Sector" extremist group that was instrumental in the "victory of the Maidan", Dmitry Yarosh, has openly called for an alliance with Doku Umarov, the most-wanted leader of the Chechen terrorists with close links to Al Qaeda.

Within this context, it is not surprising that as many as 143 thousand people from Ukraine have applied for asylum in Russia over the past two weeks.

Faced with this situation, Prime Minister of Crimea Sergey Aksenov appealed to the Russian authorities for assistance in maintaining peace and accord in the peninsula.

The numerous calls by the Russian authorities aimed at de-escalating the situation have been futile. Instead of addressing the situation through structures such as the OSCE and the Council of Europe that have a solid expertise in the field of human rights, including minority rights, and constitutional law, we have seen the Ukraine situation discussed by NATO, which certainly sent the wrong message. President Obama, rather than calling upon the ostensibly pro-Western "authorities" in Kiev to de-escalate tensions, has accused Russia of preparing an intervention and threatened with "costs".

Given the extraordinary situation in Ukraine, the threat to the lives of Russian nationals and our compatriots, as well as the Black Sea Fleet personnel, President Vladimir Putin has been compelled to use his constitutional powers and to seek approval of the Upper Chamber of Parliament, the Federation Council, for use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the territory of Ukraine pending normalisation of public order and political situation in that country. That request has been granted, although that doesn’t mean that the President will use his powers immediately.

Russia remains open to cooperation with all partners in order to seek a political solution to the crisis. What is needed is a clear understanding that this cooperation is honest and based not simply on the ability to hold fruitful negotiations but also on the ability to comply with agreements that take account of the interests of the entire Ukrainian people and all partners of Ukraine.




LATEST EVENTS

25.02.2015 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko’s remarks at the reception dedicated to Defender of Motherland Day (24 February 2015)

I’m delighted to welcome you all at the Russian Embassy for the celebration of the Defender of Motherland Day. This is the Russian Armed Forces Day, which have a glorious history. In 2015 we remember the victory over Nazi Germany and the liberation of Europe, including taking by storm of Budapest, Vienna and Berlin.


25.02.2015 - Russia to Build Its Own Orbital Station After 2024

Russia will continue using the International Space Station (ISS) until around 2024 and is planning to build its own orbital outpost using the existing ISS modules, Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said Tuesday.


23.02.2015 - Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko meets FCO Minister for Europe David Lidington

The Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, met the Foreign Office Minister for Europe, David Lidington, on 23 February. They discussed the statements regarding a “Russian threat” heard in London at an official level that are not helpful for the development of bilateral relations. In the context of media publications on flights by Russian long-range aviation, the Ambassador, citing factual evidence, pointed to the real situation with the galloping increase of NATO military activities near Russian borders. He stressed that this doesn’t improve trust between nations.


19.02.2015 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko meets with troupe of Evgeny Vakhtangov Theatre

On 19 February Ambassador of Russia Alexander Yakovenko met with troupe of the Evgeny Vakhtangov Theatre.


13.02.2015 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a gala for Diplomatic Worker Day, Moscow, February 12, 2015

We have gathered again in this room on the occasion of our professional holiday. I would like to warmly welcome to this event all of our current and former employees and our friends and colleagues from sister agencies, such as the Presidential Executive Office, the Government Staff, the Security Council and other agencies with which we interact on a daily basis.


06.02.2015 - Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko discusses Syria, Ukraine with Foreign Office Political Director Sir Simon Gass

On 5 February 2015, the Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Dr Alexander Yakovenko, met with Director General for Political Affairs of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Sir Simon Gass.


03.02.2015 - PUBLIC INQUIRY ON “LITVINENKO CASE”

Over the past several weeks since the start of the public inquiry on the “Litvinenko case” the UK media has been paying much attention to this issue. That is understandable. The journalists are (and should be!) trying to find out the truth. However, the volume of information they possess is obviously insufficient to make any conclusions. Especially so that some of the facts are being deliberately concealed by the British officials (there were reports that Mr Litvinenko was a SIS agent, which obviously explains a lot). As usual, given lack of credible information, newspapers circulate rumors on Russia’s alleged connection to this death.


30.01.2015 - Interview of Minister of Education and Science of Russia Dmitry Livanov on radical restructure for Nature journal

Amid sanctions and a financial crisis, Dmitry Livanov discusses ongoing reforms to science funding. Once a scientific powerhouse, Russia has experienced over the past 25 years a dramatic decline of its research and development capacities and is now lagging far behind other industrialized nations in terms of scientific output.


30.01.2015 - Minister-Counsellor A. Kramarenko met the Mayor of Southwark

On 30 of January Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy Alexander Kramarenko met the Mayor of Southwark Sunil Chopra. They discussed the prospects of organizing a major cross-cultural event under the auspices of Southwark Council in March, including the involvement of Russian community, based in London.


29.01.2015 - Russian Ambassador’s meeting in the Foreign Office

On 29 January Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko was invited to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a meeting with the Permanent Under-Secretary Simon Fraser.



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