23 June 2021
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1207 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1199 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



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.
Two months have passed since the poisoning and more than a month since Prime Minister May accused Russia of this crime. However, despite our numerous requests, we have not been granted access to the investigation. The FCO and the Metropolitan Police have refrained from contacts.
We have been denied consular access to our citizens in violation of the Vienna Convention on the Consular Relations and the bilateral Consular Convention. We are still unable to verify their whereabouts, health and wishes. Considering all the facts, we now have more reasons to qualify this situation as an abduction of the two Russian nationals. We will continue to seek the truth and demand answers from the British side.
We also get the impression that the British government is deliberately destroying the evidence, classifying all remaining materials and making independent investigation impossible. Sergei Skripal’s pets were incinerated without having been tested for exposure to nerve agents. Then a decontamination of the area was announced, which reportedly included destruction of potentially contaminated objects along with Sergei Skripal’s house, the “Mill” pub and the “Zizzi” restaurant.
The media coverage of the Salisbury poisoning is not as free as it should be. On 8 April it was reported that the National Security Council “had seized control” over the media response to the incident. On 18 April the media regulator Ofcom announced investigations into the RT channel regarding Salisbury. Is it a coincidence that no one has ever seen any photos of the Skripals since the incident, and no attempts have been made by the media to interview them? Hospital privacy and security might be an excuse, but it looks like the Skripals’ privacy is better protected than that of pop stars and even the Royal family.
The UK has also refused to interact with Russia in the OPCW. Instead of using the standard procedures, whereby Britain could have engaged Russia directly or through the OPCW Executive Council, the British government has chosen to cooperate with the OPCW Technical Secretariat under a classified arrangement. On 13 April Russia itself initiated Article IX of the Chemical Weapons Convention procedure to obtain a response to a list of questions to the UK submitted via the OPCW. Replies received are unsatisfactory and don’t answer our legitimate and reasonable questions and thus don’t help establish the truth. As to the OPCW report, it clearly lacked impartiality as the OPCW-designated laboratories were given only one task, which was to check whether the nerve agent identified by the UK was present in the biomedical samples, and the samples were taken only in the locations designated by the British side.
Meanwhile, the UK is depicted by the Conservative government as the “leader” of the Western efforts to “hold Russia to account”. It seems that the Cabinet has no interest in functional bilateral relations, which have reached a new low since the Salisbury poisoning. Russia is again presented as a “cyber threat” and the British public is being prepared for a massive cyber attack against Russia, which would purport to be retaliatory by nature, but in fact would constitute an unprovoked use of force. The Foreign Office has ignored the Russian offer for consultations on cybersecurity.
Nevertheless, every day the Embassy receives letters from the British public with regrets over the current official policy towards Russia. People fail to understand how it is possible to blame Russia without any proof or evidence being presented to the international community. This contradicts the British tradition of open and fair work of judiciary. Many believe that this policy is rooted in the anti-Russian sentiment within the current Conservative government.
The Embassy has published a report “Salisbury: a classified case”, which summarizes the sequence of events and Britain’s and Russia’s positions. I invite the British side to give it a thorough consideration. The list of questions to the British government is constantly growing. What we demand in the first place is transparency.


This comment piece was submitted to a national newspaper but was rejected without explanation.


18.11.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s address on the occasion of the ceremony dedicated to the veterans of the Arctic Convoys

It is an honour for me to welcome you all at this very impressive ceremony dedicated to the veterans of the Arctic Convoys. Whatever the circumstances may be around us, like the coronavirus and the due lockdown today, we should never forget the much more severe conditions that our nations had experienced in World War II.

22.10.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s welcoming remarks on the opening of “The Arctic: culture and climate” exhibition in the British Museum

Dear ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to welcome you all at the opening of “The Arctic: culture and climate” exhibition, dedicated to the history of exploration of the Far North, traditions and culture of its native peoples, as well as the problem of global climate change.

05.08.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s interview to the Daily Mail, 4 August 2020

Ambassador Andrei Kelin gave an interview to the Daily Mail newspaper, covering the Russia Report, bilateral relations with UK and a broad international agenda.

21.07.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's interview with Sky News, 21 July 2020

Q: Thank you Mr Ambassador for speaking to us today. My first question is have you seen the report today, have you read it, what do you think? A: Yes, of course, I’ve seen it and and I have read it this morning. My first impression is that the Shakespeare’s phrase is very much applicable to it: much ado about nothing. The report is called “Russia”. But if you put the name of any other country, it will be the same, because this report is not about Russia. It is about the relationship between different intelligence agencies inside the UK.

03.07.2020 - Open Skies Clouded by Sham and Ambiguity (by Ambassador Andrei Kelin)

Ambassador Andrei Kelin's article published on the website of Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on 2 July 2020.

02.12.2019 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's interview to Sputnik News Agency

On 27 November, 2019 Ambassador Andrei Kelin gave an interview to Sputnik News Agency during the V Russian-British Business Forum.

15.08.2019 - The liberal "end of history": what's next?

Following an interview with President Vladimir Putin published by the Financial Times a month ago, the issue of the future “liberal world order” in its idealistic version has been part of London’s political discussion agenda, with the emphasis being put on moral and political leadership in the present-day world.

09.07.2019 - What has happened to Western liberal idea? (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

In the recent interview with President Putin, the Financial Times seems to have launched a discussion on liberalism only at its own peril. Inadvertently, a real problem was touched upon, whose pressing nature is no longer denied by anyone in the West. The newspaper had to admit it in its Editorial of 29 June. Its authors claim that the threat to liberalism comes from within, including President Trump and his policies, Brexit and, certainly, the rise of “populist nationalism”. They refer to voters’ disillusionment with liberalism and loss of confidence in the economic system and trust in political elites. The latter are invited to redouble their efforts to take into consideration issues raised by voters and “to renew liberalism”.

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.

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