22 September 2020
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933 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     925 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Ambassador Andrei Kelin's interview to Sputnik News Agency

Question: One thing I wanted to run by you was that I met your predecessor last year at a press conference immediately after the incident in Salisbury. I think it goes without saying that it was a real time of real escalation in diplomatic tensions between London and Moscow. In the context of this forum, how would you say that affected the business relationship between the two countries, and has there been any improvement since then?

Answer: It is a good question. What I have seen in the opening statements and sessions and afterwards, was a certain contradiction. On the one hand, Russian representatives from different ministries, agencies of investment, were talking about the new opportunities which the Russian government is now providing for businessmen, including small and medium businesses. They mentioned, of course, that we have made efforts to go up in the index of doing business of the World Bank. The government is doing a lot in cutting the old regulations which are impeding the development of business. I have yet also heard a serious desire on the part of British businesses to learn what is happening in Russia to facilitate business.

But on the other hand, I have of course also heard officials of the UK cooling it down, trying to decrease expectations and trying to intervene with the political background and all of that side.

Anyway, I do believe that business will find ways how to circumvent all these things, and if people would like to do that, they will do that. Some very interesting ideas have been launched today. For instance, that British business should use existing opportunities like creating a free-trade zone with Russia not limited by the European Union. Also interesting I would say.

Question: I’ve heard from a contact, the chairman of the Westminster-Russian forum, who told me that Brexit is regarded by Russians as purely a British matter. Is that true of Russian businessmen, do they keep an eye on Britain? They must think what it could mean for them if they want to strike business deals here.

Answer: I’ve heard from a number of companies and businessmen in Russia that they are very cautious. They have ideas and intentions to go to Britain, but they will abstain from doing so for some time because the political situation is not clear. I mean, both in Britain and internationally. For the moment they would prefer to be cautious and to sit back in Moscow, in Russia. As to how we see it, we do not take a position in this matter. It is an internal matter from our political point of view. There are advantages for us in the UK staying in the European Union because it is more predictable and we have a certain basis in dealing with Britain through the European Union regulations and agreements that we have already with the European Union. This is one side. The other side is that if Brexit happens, we will see other opportunities because certain barriers that have been established by the European Union, will fall. For example, in trade we have nearly twenty of these kinds of barriers and limitations: in steel, in the chemical industry for instance, chrome. So these barriers will not exist anymore and our business will have more opportunities to do things in this country.

Question: There’s one last point that my editor in Moscow wanted me to run by you. There has been a report published today, and I’ll understand if you don’t want to comment, from the Royal United Services Institute that has found that the British Army has a critical shortage of artillery and ammunition and could not hold a defensive position in Eastern Europe. What do you think of that kind of research? Is that unhelpful?

Answer: In my diplomatic career I have dealt a lot with military defense matters. I used to work in Brussels for ten years at NATO headquarters, and frankly established a normal relationship between NATO and Russia. We know that [the NATO] summit is going to happen here. These types of statements and articles are now being practiced, as I’ve noticed, in many countries. In the United States, in Germany, in London this kind of things is printed regularly. My feeling is that the sole purpose of these kinds of statements and reports is to seek more money for defense budgets. It is clear that defense people are exploiting the idea of a Russian threat for their own benefit, to extract more money from the budget of the government for defense.



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.

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.

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.

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