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Future of the Arctic in focus as more countries start playing in the region (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK)

As interest in the Arctic region, its exploration and preservation, rapidly grows, the Arctic Council is getting more hands to help out with the new Permanent Arctic Council Secretariat starting its work in northern Norway.

Eight Arctic nations, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US, make the Arctic council, but as of May 15, twelve permanent observers have joined the Council. These include countries away from the Arctic circle such as China, Italy, Japan and South Korea. With Arctic ice melting and new opportunities for commercial transportation and extraction of mineral resources, new platers are being attracted to the region. The decision on permanent observers reflects growing interest toward the Arctic among non-Arctic states.

This also means that more states accept the role of the Council in defining the future of the Arctic and recognize the principle of sovereignty of the Arctic states and the responsibility for managing affairs of that vital area, which, indeed, strengthens the significance of this international body on a global scale.

At the meeting in Kiruna the ministers signed the second legally binding pan-Arctic document in history - the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic. This, further evidence of the Arctic countries’ responsibility role for the state of affairs in the region. The next is preparation of the Agreement on Marine Oil Spill Prevention. The Arctic Council also continues to discuss the problem of black carbon - this issue requires focused and comprehensive study.

Russia welcomes the results of the completed large-scale scientific projects of the Arctic Council accompanied by valuable recommendations. It's believed they will help better understand the changes taking place in the Arctic region, to forecast the vector of their development and will be in demand when our countries make relevant decisions.
One of the evident achievements of the Swedish presidency is the fruitful meeting of ecology ministers of member-states this February, the interaction between the military that started last year.

The interest in the Arctic region is growing fast. We welcome the observers, including China and Italy, whose status is subject to the criteria approved in Nuuk. Several other applications will be considered at the next session of the Council.

The priorities of the starting Canadian presidency in the Council are shared by us – development of resources of the North, the use of Arctic maritime transport route, support for those who live in the Arctic region. They are largely in line with the Strategy of Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation and Ensuring National Security for the period till 2020.

It is important that all Arctic strategies adopted in member-states of the Council state that national interests may be fully secured only through close cooperation with partners in the region. The changes taking place in the Arctic region not only bring common challenges to us, but also open up new opportunities for cooperation.

It is hard to overestimate the importance of a rather symbolic trip of senior officials of the Arctic Council to the North Pole this April together with the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev and a well-known Russian polar explorer Artur Chilingarov and their photos taken against the background of flags of the eight member-states and the flag of the Arctic Council.

Russia will hold the third international Arctic Forum organized by the Russian Geographical Society in Salekhard on 24-25 September 2013.

We are convinced that all the issues not settled yet in the Arctic region – and their number is diminishing – will be resolved by the Arctic countries on the existing and sufficient international and legal basis and, of course, good will.
The Arctic region is becoming an example for many other, unfortunately, less peaceful regions. Russia has no doubts that the future of the Arctic region will be defined by notions like peace, sustainable development, close cooperation and strong Arctic Council.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.



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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