23 January 2018
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The Russian view of European security (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK)

The history of international relations shows any attempt to achieve one’s own security at the expense of the security of others fails and leads to catastrophe. There is no such thing as absolute security. Both world wars and Cold War teach that lesson.

Only concerted efforts by all states can guarantee a certain level of security from different threats and challenges to all countries of the world, including Europe. Despite some successful steps aimed at strengthening the principles of equal and indivisible security for the entire Euro-Atlantic area there still remains unjustified and artificially preserved mistrust and friction. This is especially true in the case of ballistic missile defense.

NATO is working to enhance its missile interception capabilities by 2018-2020. Potentially this can devalue the nuclear deterrence capabilities of Russia. This does not mean that Russia wants by any means to retain the possibility of a nuclear strike. However, in the strategic balance it is the potentials and not the intentions that matter. We should demonstrate a responsible attitude to the legacy of the mutual nuclear deterrence that we inherited from the time of the Cold war. The sense of invincibility and total nuclear supremacy by any country may in future lead to irresponsible decisions that would put the whole of mankind in danger.

While governments come and go, strategic interests and strategic potentials persist. Russia cannot make its national interests hostage to the political situation in any other country, especially if it is a country with which we are tied into the relationship of strategic stability. The unpredictable situation is further exacerbated by the systemic financial crisis in the West, which increases the likelihood of unwanted scenarios, such as the coming to power of populists and dangerous adventurists who would seek solving domestic problems through increased international tension.

Russia calls for guarantees that the BMD system being deployed by the USA is not targeted against the Russian nuclear deterrent. We believe that such guarantees should be written into a legally binding document and they should be based on objective military and technical criteria which would prove that the anti-missile capabilities correspond to their stated objective, which is responding to limited missile threats emanating from outside of Europe.

Russia indeed is concerned over the possibility of a new nuclear and missile arms race. However, the level of such a threat today is not high enough to justify the NATO recipe for its elimination. While we respect the right of the NATO states to defend their territory, we find it hard to understand why our partners refuse to take on legal obligations guaranteeing the security of the Russian Federation.

At the same time, Russia is open for further dialogue and ready to carry out long-term practical cooperation with our partners. Apart from BMD there is a lot of issues we can discuss, such as common security threats in the Euro-Atlantic, collaboration between Russia and NATO, prospects for cooperation with the CSTO, development of new arms control mechanisms, the role of the OSCE.

With this aim in mind on 23-24 May 2013 the Russian Ministry of Defense is holding a large-scale international conference on the military and political aspects of European security. We firmly believe that encouraging the search for new solutions with the participation of the world expert community can re-energize the process of our cooperation in the sphere of security.


17.01.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the unveiling of memorial plaque in Sayes Court Park

Dear Mayor, Dear Councillors, Lady Joan, Ladies and gentlemen, It is now 320 years ago that a truly remarkable man set foot in Deptford. As you know, the Russian Tsar Peter, later named the Great, visited Western Europe in 1697—1698 under the nickname of Peter Mikhailov, with his Grand Embassy. He was eager to find out about the latest achievements in science and technology and create new diplomatic alliances. Of course, England couldn’t escape his attention. He mostly studied shipbuilding at the famous Deptford Dockyard, but he also met King William III, and, reportedly, Isaac Newton. Peter’s landlord, the famous John Evelyn, was also a respected scientist – a founder member of the Royal Society.

13.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am pleased to welcome you to the Russian Embassy at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee. It’s a common knowledge, that football is the most popular game in the world. It is an honour for us to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in the history of our country. I believe that those who come to Russia to support their national teams will leave with unforgettable memories.

08.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo (7 December 2017)

25.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the reception at the Embassy dedicated to Russian Film Week (24 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding Russian opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky who passed away this week. In 2015 he gave a concert in this very hall. I am delighted to welcome you at our reception dedicated to the Russian Film Week and the environmental causes it champions. This year their charity partner is World Wide Fund for Nature, which runs many projects in Russia in coordination and with support of the Russian Government. Russia has a unique, fascinating wildlife. A number of this week’s films show the natural beauty of our land and are sure to raise awareness of how fragile this beauty is. We appreciate the WWF effort in Russia and worldwide and call on everybody to become a supporter, especially this year, marked as Year of Ecology in Russia.

20.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the launch of the Russian Film Week (19 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, It is a pleasure for me to be at the opening of the second edition of the Russian Film Week here in London – which this year also spans to Cambridge and Edinburgh.

16.10.2017 - Unpublished letter to the Editor of The Times (sent 12 October)

Sir, If British MPs are free to speak out, wherever they wish, on any issue, why try to block their freedom of speech (“Helping Putin”, 11 October)? If a TV channel wants (and is legally bound) to present different points of view, why slam those who express these views? If the mere act of giving an interview to foreign media amounts to high treason, why does The Times interview Russian politicians without fear? And finally - while MPs critical of Russia are welcome guests on the Russian TV channel RT, does your paper give the same treatment to those critical of the paper’s owner? Konstantin Shlykov Press Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation

25.09.2017 - PRESENTATION by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Christian Future of Europe Conference 22 September 2017, London

Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, dear Mr. Ambassador, conference organizers and participants, I cordially greet all of those gathered today at the Russian Embassy in London to partake in this conference dedicated to the question of the future of Christianity in Europe. This topic is not only not losing any of its relevance, but is resounding ever anew. Experts believe that today Christianity remains not only the most persecuted religious community on the planet, but is also encountering fresh challenges which touch upon the moral foundations of peoples' lives, their faith and their values. Recent decades have seen a transformation in the religious and ethnic landscape of Europe.

23.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at presentation of the book "The Mystery of Repentance" held at the Russian Embassy

I’m glad to welcome you here to a discussion of two prominent hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England, on Christian future of Europe.

12.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the exhibition opening (“Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia” 12 September, British Museum)

Today the British Museum and the State Hermitage of Saint-Petersburg are once again proving their unique world class by bringing a whole new civilization to London. Ancient, and almost mythical, but creative, powerful and very different from what we have all known about antiquity – the Scythians.

14.07.2017 - Letter of Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov to the Herald newspaper, published 13.07.2017

I NOTE a rather questionable article by Mark McLaughlin (“Russians lurking near Faslane to eavesdrop on nuclear submarines", The Herald, July 11). Do you really believe that 145 million Russians would elect a leader who would command his nuclear submarines to chase someone's sole and lonely operative U-boat which is firing missiles in the opposite direction or Type 45 destroyers with faulty engines or an aircraft carrier without aircraft on it, all of them being located in Scottish waters?

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