27 May 2017
Moscow: 14:52
London: 12:52

Consular queries:  
+44 (0) 203 668 7474  
info@rusemb.org.uk  

 

AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

02.05.2017

Investigation into Khan Sheikhoun: rules-based order tested by Western scheming (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

 

There is still no proper reaction by the OPCW to the alleged use of sarin in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria on 4 April.

Unfortunately, the work of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) toSyriais shrouded in secrecy. What is clear is that it continues to operate in a remote mode, using Internet data mostly concocted by the radical elements of the Syrian opposition, including the notorious “White Helmets”. From the scarce information one can gather that the samples taken from those injured or dead were tested in the OPCW-licensed laboratories inBritainandTurkeyand established to be sarin or sarin-like substance. However, the samples were not taken at the site of the incident. Hence the basic principle of the investigation, that of the chain of custody, hasn’t been observed. There are no answers on that from our Western partners. As there is no clear evidence that those people were from Khan Sheikhoun and not from somewhere else.

Equally dubious is the questioning of the “witnesses” by the FFM. One can’t be sure they were residents of Khan Sheikhoun. Moreover, those “witnesses”, as we understand, are mostly supporters of the opposition or their family members. Their impartiality is questionable. However, information is available, including provided by the NGO “Swedish Doctors for Human Rights”, which demonstrates that those photo- and video- materials were clearly staged.

It looks like the FFM, so far, is not doing its job properly. That the FFM team, in terms of its composition, is absolutely dominated by the countries hostile toDamascus, is another fundamental flaw. This is in sharp contrast to the established international practice. According to the UN Secretary-General decision the UN-OPCW Investigation Mechanism mustn’t include representatives of the UNSC P5, as well as Syria’s neighbours. And yet the heads of both FFM segments are British citizens, albeit no one can in earnest assume the British position in the Syrian conflict as unbiased. Why not act by the book and why afraid of the truth being established in due course? The proposal to have a special investigation, with due oversight of the international community, was voted down by the West.  

There’s still time to conduct a proper full-fledged investigation. According to the UN Secretariat, the security situation in Khan Sheikhoun is quite acceptable. The Syrian side is also ready, in the interests of this investigation, to put a ceasefire in force along the way of the OPCW staff’s travel to the site. The Director-General of the OPCW Technical Secretariat stated his willingness to send the OPCW experts to Khan Sheikhoun.

The Syrian Government is also ready to ensure a totally secure environment for the FFM staff to visit Shayrat airbase. We insist on such a visit. The US Administration explained its Shayrat missile attack by the alleged storage of sarin at this airbase. It is necessary to verify this allegation.

It is a fair assumption that sarin could have been used in Khan Sheikhoun. The question is who did it and how the toxic substance was delivered. A few versions exist. As the information is accumulated there is more and more grounds to think that the terrorists controlling this area blew up the home-built sarin munition on the ground which resulted in civilian casualties. The “White Helmets” acted too hastily to stir public outrage and posted in-advance prepared materials on the Internet. However, they made several bad mistakes which point to the staged nature of those materials.

The definitive answer to what really happened in Khan Sheikhoun can only be provided by a full-fledged investigation in full compliance with the OPCW verification provisions. It is too serious a matter for peace in the region and a wider world for the OPCW to fail this test of credibility. Those who have taken over the FFM investigation are all to eager to manage the truth in their vested interest. Otherwise they wouldn’t obstruct efforts to open it up for due scrutiny. It is this tactics of pushing the UN Security Council to act on the basis of forged evidence and flawed investigation, that undermines the rules-based world order.

It has to be borne in mind that the British Foreign Secretary recently hypothesized on joining anotherUSaction inSyriain response to another chemical incident, which means that an order for it has already been placed. A lot is said about the disastrous lack of trust in international relations. Unilateral actions and takeovers of international bodies by the West further undermine it. 




LATEST EVENTS

15.05.2017 - There can be only political solutions on the Korean peninsula (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

There is no doubt that what we are living through in present is one of the most dramatic developments on the Korean peninsula showing that the threat of confrontation is moving into its hottest phase than ever before. The belligerent rhetoric coupled with reckless muscle-flexing has led to a dangerous situation where one careless step can lead to the most terrible consequences.


11.05.2017 - The OPCW investigation of Khan-Sheikhoun chemical incident: how credible? (Article by Ambassador Yakovenko for The Daily Telegraph)

Unfortunately, there is still no proper reaction by the OPCW to the alleged use of sarin in Khan Sheikhoun of 4 April. The work of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) to Syria is shrouded in secrecy. What is clear is that it continues to operate in a remote mode, using Internet data mostly concocted by the radical elements of the Syrian opposition, including the notorious “White Helmets”. From the scarce information one can gather that the samples taken from those injured or dead were tested in the OPCW-licensed laboratories in Britain and Turkey and established to be sarin or sarin-like substance. However, the samples were not taken at the site of the incident, but, it appears, in the Turkish territory, to which the injured and the bodies of the dead were taken. Hence the basic principle of the investigation, that of the chain of custody, hasn’t been observed. There are no answers on that from our Western partners. As there is no clear evidence that those people were from Khan Sheikhoun and not from somewhere else.


28.04.2017 - UK is blocking independent international investigation into Khan Sheikhoun incident (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On April 18, in response to a statement by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on British experts at Porton Down lab having analyzed some samples taken at the site of the chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun, we have asked the Foreign Office to provide us with the information on its unilateral investigation. In particular, we requested information on what kind of samples and where were taken and whether the OPCW’s key requirement of chain of custody was observed during the collection of evidence. If the British side had access to the scene of the incident, why wouldn’t it provide such an access for the OPCW experts? We have not received any reply so far.


31.03.2017 - Liberation of Mosul: a new catastrophe? (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

We are deeply concerned over the deteriorating plight of the civilians in Mosul, who are paying an excessively high price for their liberation from terrorists. We have seen devastating consequences of the first phase of the military operation in the eastern districts of Mosul, where the Coalition applied doubtful tactics to push terrorists out of the city. Those efforts led to deplorable results: at least 1,500 civilians were killed and over 160,000 were displaced. During that brutal fighting about 60 percent of administrative buildings, 90 percent of transport infrastructure, 15 percent of residential buildings and 30 percent of schools were ruined.


06.03.2017 - The growing Russian economy is increasingly open for business (article by Ambassador Yakovenko for The Daily Telegraph, 6 March 2017)

Tough challenges, including weak global growth, low energy prices and Western sanctions have been used by the Russian Government as incentives to make difficult, but sound decisions to keep our economy in shape. Most of the problems have been overcome, and we have adapted to the new, tougher trade and economic environment, that some call deglobalisation.


21.02.2017 - Remembering Ambassador Churkin (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Work in New York, at a mission to the United Nations differs a lot from any Embassy. Especially so for a mission of a nation-permanent member of the Security Council. The last ten years, when Vitaly Churkin represented Russia at the UN, undoubtedly where the most busy and strenuous, given the War in Iraq, intervention in Libya, the crises in Syria and Ukraine. On all these issues there were serious differences between major powers, which increased demand for multilateral diplomacy. On many occasions those were non-stop, marathon sessions aimed at reaching consensus, finding some common ground as a basis for international action.


03.02.2017 - MEPP: inter-Palestinian conference in Moscow (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 15-17 January in Moscow there was held an inter-Palestinian informal meeting organized by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Representatives of the main Palestinian organizations were present, including Fatah, Hamas, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, the Palestinian National Initiative, the Palestinian People’s Party, the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, the Palestinian Democratic Union and others.


03.02.2017 - Deal is straightforward yet Kiev drags its feet (by Ambassador Yakovenko for FT)

Sir, The latest flare-up in eastern Ukraine is just more evidence of the Kiev government choosing war over reform (Letters, February 1). It has been dragging its feet over implementation of its part of the Minsk 2 accords reached by the Normandy Four two years ago.


01.02.2017 - Crimea and Minsk Agreements: what the British media would not tell? (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The recent escalation in eastern Ukraine is again presented in the British media as Russia’s attempt to wage a proxy hybrid war against Kiev’s pro-western leadership. For fear of an eventual improvement in Russia-US relationships they pray for the sanctions against Russia to stay unless the Minsk Agreements are implemented as well as a punishment for the “Russia’s annexation of Crimea”. Let me set the record straight on that.


25.01.2017 - Finally there is hope for peace in Syria. Now let's concentrate on fighting Isil (article by Ambassador Yakovenko in The Daily Telegraph, 25 January 2017)

For almost a year and a half, as the British government and media were accusing Russia of pursuing a military solution in Syria, we have patiently said that fighting terrorists complements the peace process. Their presence is a foreign intervention, which distorts everything. Not always was our voice heard, but today facts on the ground prove us to be right, and hope for peace is palpable.



all messages