21 December 2014
Moscow: 14:39
London: 10:39

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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

19.12.2014 - RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR MEETS FOREIGN OFFICE MINISTER FOR EUROPE

On 18 December Russian Ambassador Dr Alexander Yakovenko met Foreign Office Minister for Europe David Lidington. The state and prospects of Russo-British relations were discussed, as well as topical issues on international agenda, including the Ukrainian crisis and the EU-Russia relationship.


18.12.2014 - Prime Minister Medvedev sends condolences to Prime Minister of Pakistan on the terrorist attack at a school in Peshawar

Prime Minister Medvedev’s message to Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif reads, in part:


18.12.2014 - President of Russia Vladimir Putin sends condolences to President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif

President of Russia Vladimir Putin sent a message of condolences to President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif following the terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar.


16.12.2014 - Ambassador Yakovenko visits Ming exhibition at the British Museum

On 16 December 2014 Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko together with the Chinese Ambassador took part in the private viewing of “Ming: 50 years that changed China” at the British Museum in London.


16.12.2014 - British Defence Secretary: hypothesizing a bit too far

In his interview with The Telegraph over the weekend Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said, that he didn’t trust President Putin “at the moment and we have to prepare for the worst”.


10.12.2014 - In Conversation with Dmitry Medvedev. Interview with five television channels

The Russian Prime Minister answered questions from TV anchors Irada Zeinalova (Channel One), Sergei Brilyov (VGTRK), Marianna Maksimovskaya (Ren TV), Vadim Takmenyov (NTV) and Mikhail Zygar (TV Rain).


08.12.2014 - Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev's message to participants and guests of the XXV Glinka International Vocal Contest

Dear friends, I am honoured to congratulate you on the opening of the 25th Glinka International Vocal Contest, which has an additional dimension in the Year of Culture underway in Russia.


05.12.2014 - On parliamentary hearings related to the Russia-EU relations

On 4 December a session of the House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee, which is holding an inquiry into the current state of relationship between Russia and the EU, has taken place.


03.12.2014 - Ambassador A.Yakovenko takes part in the YotaPhone 2 Global Launch in London

On 3rd December 2014 Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko took part in the YotaPhone 2 Global Launch in London with the participation of the Yota Devices company CEO Vlad Martynov.


02.12.2014 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s message to the organisers and participants of the Eighth European Russian Forum

I would like to extend a warm welcome to the organisers and participants of the Eighth European Russian Forum.



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