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AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

08.01.2014

Russia, UK kept up a positive momentum in 2013 (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK, for Russia Today)

The events of the last year have confirmed the normalisation of political dialogue between Russia and the UK has become a steady trend.

Our relationship has been developing in a sustainable way, moving in the right direction to serve our mutual interests, notwithstanding irritants, inherited from the past, which remain to be resolved.

The political leaders set the right, results-orientated tone. Over the past year and a half, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister David Cameron have met six times and had regular telephone conversations.

A new mechanism, the Strategic Dialogue of Foreign and Defence Ministers, has been launched. The first “2+2” meeting was held in March in London, while the second is scheduled for next spring in Moscow.

Russia and the UK have maintained an active dialogue at other levels, including consultations between the foreign ministries. There was agreement on some topics and serious differences on others. But wherever the interests of the international community required and the situation allowed, the differences did not prevent us from reaching an agreement, in particular, on the Iranian nuclear programme and the Syrian crisis.

Our positions are especially close on such pressing international issues as safeguarding stability and security in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of foreign troops, and the Middle East peace process.

As permanent members of the UN Security Council, Moscow and London pursued an agreed policy on the reform of the UN and it's Council. Russia’s G20 presidency and the UK presidency of the G8, as well as Russia’s G8 presidency in 2014, have provided another dimension to our cooperation.

There has been dynamic growth in trade and economic cooperation. The UK is one of Russia’s leading trade partners. In three quarters of this year, trade reached $17.5 billion (£10.7 billion), with UK cumulative investment in Russia at $24 billion, and Russia’s investment in the UK $9 billion.

Considerable attention has been focused on energy co-operation. The first meeting of the Russian-British High-Level Energy Dialogue, was held in London on June 10. On the agenda is a possible increase in the direct supply of Russian natural gas to the UK, and the enhancement of nuclear energy cooperation with the potential entry of Russian advanced technology into the UK market.

On September 18, Vice President Arkady Dvorkovich and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson, endorsed our veterinary services’ agreement to lift the temporary ban on the import of UK beef and lamb by-products to Russia. The ban on beef and lamb had been lifted earlier.

Both parties recognise the potential for co-operation in technology and innovation. A programme of co-operation for the near future was endorsed by the 11th meeting of the bilateral Committee on Scientific and Technical Co-operation held in October in London.

Financial co-operation is another important area. It includes creating a Moscow International Financial Centre, as well as the participation of British firms in preparations for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the Summer Universiade in Kazan and the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Traditional cultural exchanges are to be brought to a higher level. In March, the two foreign ministers issued a joint statement on holding a Russia-UK Year of Culture in 2014. There are plans for more than 250 events.

The historical and emotional dimension of our relationship is of crucial importance. Having established the Arctic Star medal, Britain granted permission for its veterans of the Arctic Convoys to be awarded the Russian Ushakov Medal. In 2014 our countries will take part in events to mark the centenary of the First World War, in which we were also allies.

All articles for RT




LATEST EVENTS

09.08.2018 - Letter from Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to the Guardian’s editor

In response to the Ambassador Beruchashvili’s letter, offering not so much a recollection of the August 2008 events in the Caucasus, but rather a misleading reiteration of the Georgian claims against Russia I have to refer to some of the universally recognized facts and consequences resulting from those tragic events.


24.07.2018 - Eastern Economic Forum: the East is bright (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

When talking about Russia’s Far East, you invariably remember its stunning natural beauty, abundance in natural resources and vast territories. But when one thinks of its investments prospects, you also invariably remember its harsh climate, low average population density and the lack of transport and other infrastructure. But now the situation is changing fundamentally. The region is undergoing a huge and qualitative revival. The development of the region has been declared one of the national priorities for Russia. In the last 5 years 18 advanced development zones and 5 free ports have been established in the Russian Far East. Long-term tax exemptions have been provided for large investment projects. Paperless e-visas for visitors of Vladivostok are available for citizens of 18 countries.


03.05.2018 - SALISBURY: A CLASSIFIED CASE (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

On 4 March 2018 two Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were reportedly poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire with the toxic chemical named A-234 under the British classification. On 12 March Foreign Secretary Johnson summoned me to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and said that Russia was “highly likely” responsible for the attack. He invited us to respond by the next day, whether this had been a direct act by the state or Russia had lost control over this nerve agent. The incident had international repercussions, including expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from 28 countries, notwithstanding the fact that the charges were based on assumptions and unverifiable intelligence. The Western countries lost the same number of Moscow-based staff. Meanwhile, the British government provided no evidence either to the public, its allies or Russia. Subsequent events revealed that no proof of Russia’s involvement existed. On 1 May, National Security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill confirmed that (despite a number of previous leaks) no suspect had been identified, a statement that speaks for itself.


14.02.2018 - The international community needs a unified legal base to combat information crimes (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Amid the rapid advance in technologies we face a growing number of cyber-crimes: in 2016, these offences caused damage of $445 billion and by 2020, according to experts, this figure can reach up to $3 trillion, exceeding the overall income received from the Internet.


26.01.2018 - UNGA: Glorification of Nazism must stop (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In December the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the traditional resolution on “Combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. It was supported by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States: 133 states voted for this document, 57 became its co-sponsors, and only Ukraine and the United States voted against.


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.



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