15 October 2018
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AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

20.05.2015

Re-engagement between Russia and NATO is in everyone’s interest (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The end of the Cold War gave unprecedented opportunities to overcome the divisions of Europe. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has extensively contributed to building a peaceful, secure and stable Euro-Atlantic area. We made a crucial contribution to the elimination of the material legacy of the era of ideological and military confrontation. Our country assumed the obligations to withdraw its troops and armaments from Germany, Central and Eastern Europe and later from the Baltic countries.

For the last 25 years Russia has reacted positively to reasonable and mutually beneficial initiatives of the Western partners in the sphere of the European security, although those were scarce and not as far reaching. Russian and NATO navies have been patrolling the Mediterranean Sea under the framework of the “Active Endeavour” operation, cooperating on counter-terrorism issues, jointly fighting against piracy in the Aden Gulf. Russian peacekeepers participated alongside brigades from NATO Member States in the operation under the UNSC mandate in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995-2003. There are many other examples of mutually beneficial cooperation. In 1990, Russia signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) and cut thousands of conventional armaments and equipment pieces. Another effort to get rid of the legacy of the Cold War was made by Russia in June 2008, when we proposed to conclude a European security treaty. It was intended to build a common space of military and political security in the Euro-Atlantic area for all states regardless of their membership in military and political alliances, to find a common denominator for the patchwork architecture littered with institutions inherited for the Cold War era.

Unfortunately, the Western countries have opted for “closed shop” philosophy, i.e. mechanical NATO eastward enlargement at the expense of development and consolidation of truly regional (in the sense of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter) European institutions. The US has taken efforts to build a missile defence system in Europe that directly impacts the security interests of our country, undermines strategic stability. As a result, dividing lines in Europe persist, and the ensuing tensions and deterioration of trust have brought about the Ukrainian crisis as sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, the alliance has been using the pretext of the so-called “Russian aggression” to increase consistently its military presence near Russian borders. NATO has decided to suspend all practical cooperation and de-facto to stop the work of the NATO-Russian Council. This can and actually has already led to negative consequences - military and political risks have increased, and a lot of opportunities have been missed as a result of the lack of cooperation with Russia. The alliance’s choice to suspend practical collaboration with Russia does not contribute to the fight against threats and challenges which are common to NATO member-countries and Russia.

The current negative trends are not Russia’s choice. We are convinced that there is no real alternative to mutually beneficial and wide cooperation between Russia and NATO on the basis of equality, pragmatism and respect for each other’s interests. Russia is not interested in any confrontation. In a crisis our cooperation is all the more important. It has to be all-weather, good or bad. And it is the only antidote to temptations of unilateralism, which is always counterproductive, destabilising and self-destructive.




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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