23 January 2018
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The Russian view of European security (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK)

The history of international relations shows any attempt to achieve one’s own security at the expense of the security of others fails and leads to catastrophe. There is no such thing as absolute security. Both world wars and Cold War teach that lesson.

Only concerted efforts by all states can guarantee a certain level of security from different threats and challenges to all countries of the world, including Europe. Despite some successful steps aimed at strengthening the principles of equal and indivisible security for the entire Euro-Atlantic area there still remains unjustified and artificially preserved mistrust and friction. This is especially true in the case of ballistic missile defense.

NATO is working to enhance its missile interception capabilities by 2018-2020. Potentially this can devalue the nuclear deterrence capabilities of Russia. This does not mean that Russia wants by any means to retain the possibility of a nuclear strike. However, in the strategic balance it is the potentials and not the intentions that matter. We should demonstrate a responsible attitude to the legacy of the mutual nuclear deterrence that we inherited from the time of the Cold war. The sense of invincibility and total nuclear supremacy by any country may in future lead to irresponsible decisions that would put the whole of mankind in danger.

While governments come and go, strategic interests and strategic potentials persist. Russia cannot make its national interests hostage to the political situation in any other country, especially if it is a country with which we are tied into the relationship of strategic stability. The unpredictable situation is further exacerbated by the systemic financial crisis in the West, which increases the likelihood of unwanted scenarios, such as the coming to power of populists and dangerous adventurists who would seek solving domestic problems through increased international tension.

Russia calls for guarantees that the BMD system being deployed by the USA is not targeted against the Russian nuclear deterrent. We believe that such guarantees should be written into a legally binding document and they should be based on objective military and technical criteria which would prove that the anti-missile capabilities correspond to their stated objective, which is responding to limited missile threats emanating from outside of Europe.

Russia indeed is concerned over the possibility of a new nuclear and missile arms race. However, the level of such a threat today is not high enough to justify the NATO recipe for its elimination. While we respect the right of the NATO states to defend their territory, we find it hard to understand why our partners refuse to take on legal obligations guaranteeing the security of the Russian Federation.

At the same time, Russia is open for further dialogue and ready to carry out long-term practical cooperation with our partners. Apart from BMD there is a lot of issues we can discuss, such as common security threats in the Euro-Atlantic, collaboration between Russia and NATO, prospects for cooperation with the CSTO, development of new arms control mechanisms, the role of the OSCE.

With this aim in mind on 23-24 May 2013 the Russian Ministry of Defense is holding a large-scale international conference on the military and political aspects of European security. We firmly believe that encouraging the search for new solutions with the participation of the world expert community can re-energize the process of our cooperation in the sphere of security.


29.11.2017 - Afghan opium production jumps to record level (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

According to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey released by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2017 opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 per cent to a record level of 9,000 metric tons. The area under opium poppy cultivation also grew by 63 per cent to its highest level of 328,000 hectares. Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of the poppy from which opium and heroin are produced. The 2017 record levels of opium production and poppy cultivation create multiple challenges for the country, its neighbours and many other countries that serve as a transit for or a destination of Afghan opiates. The significant levels of opium poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates fuel instability, insurgency and increase funding to terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

19.10.2017 - Why to fight with memorials (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The campaign in Poland against World War II memorials to Soviet officers and soldiers, who had liberated the country from the Nazi occupation, is gaining momentum. Warsaw has created a legal framework allowing the disposal of Soviet/Russian memorial objects or taking them out of public sight, including the most widespread monuments of gratitude to the Red Army. Why?

18.10.2017 - Syria: collective humanitarian efforts, not sanctions, are needed more than ever (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The situation in Syria is undergoing serious transformation. Due to the de-escalation process, it has now become possible to drastically reduce the level of violence, to improve the humanitarian situation as well as to fight terrorists more efficiently. The ISIS-controlled territory is shrinking. On 14-15 September, at the international meeting in Astana all four de-escalation zones were finalized.

05.10.2017 - What You Have to Know about Status of Crimea (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the West tore up the constitutional space in Ukraine. The legitimate President of the country was overthrown. It was marked by a severe lack of democracy and violence that posed a direct threat to the well-being of Russian-speaking population of Crimea. Citizens of Crimea faced the choice of becoming an oppressed minority or severing their ties with the hostile regime to secure a future for themselves and their children. The decision to hold a referendum was made by legitimate local authorities. The independence of Crimea was proclaimed and an appeal to enter the Russian Federation was made based on the indisputable results of the popular vote. Standards of international law were fully observed as the right of nations to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter was exercised freely by the Crimeans. Crimea was recognized as an independent and sovereign state by Russia and on 18 March 2014 in Moscow the two countries signed a Treaty of Unification, under which the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became two new regions - subjects of the Russian Federation.

05.10.2017 - NATO increased military presence in Europe: road to nowhere (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

As part of the implementation of the conclusions of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, four multinational battlegroups have been deployed in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia with the total number of troops exceeding 4500. The idea of creating similar rotating units in Bulgaria and Romania in 2018 is being widely discussed by NATO members. If put together, these battlegroups amount to a motorized infantry brigade with heavy weapons.

30.09.2017 - Russia’s initiative on protecting SMM OSCE in South-East of Ukraine (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 5th September, at the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has announced an initiative to establish the United Nations Mission on Support in Protecting the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) OSCE in the South-East of Ukraine.

25.09.2017 - Eurasian Economic Union today (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Though hardly noticeable in the Western media, the Eurasian economic cooperation is booming, with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) becoming an increasingly effective integration project. The unique format of enhanced economic coordination along with the EAEU member states’ retained political sovereignty and cultural identity is proving itself.

25.09.2017 - On Russia's assistance to Central Asia (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Russia attaches great importance to the issue of sustainable development as it is underlined by the UN. Among our priorities in this area is the development of Central Asia. We contribute to the development of this region on a regular basis, regardless of the global economic crisis and its negative effect on Russia’s economy. In today’s world, international aid is often politically motivated and aimed at exerting one’s influence. Russia has a different approach.

25.09.2017 - IX BRICS Summit – turning into a global organisation (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen, China, has emphasized the proximity of positions of the member states on the current global problems. It demonstrated that over the last 10 years BRICS has grown into a full-fledged international mechanism for global cooperation.

08.09.2017 - SCO sets standards for countering extremism (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In June 2017, the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) signed the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism, which will help strengthen the international legal framework to address new challenges and threats as well as increase the effectiveness of cooperation between relevant authorities of the member states and to improve legislation in this area.

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