25 April 2018
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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

08.08.2013

Independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia: Why it happened (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK)

In August 2008, the President of Georgia, in breach of the UN Charter and in violation of other international obligations and commitments, started a conflict which resulted in the loss of civilian lives and destruction.

The aim was to re-establish control over South Ossetia. The same fate awaited the republic of Abkhazia.

This was not the first attempt. In 1991, then-Georgian President Gamsakhurdia, acting under the slogan ‘Georgia for Georgians’, ordered an offensive on Sukhum in Abkhazia and Tskhinval in South Ossetia, causing thousands of deaths, tens of thousands of refugees and dozens of villages abandoned.

It was Russia who stopped the genocide against the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Moscow became a mediator and a peacemaker helping to find a political solution. At the same time, we have always respected the territorial integrity of Georgia.

However, the Georgian leader chose the path of undermining the process of negotiation and ignoring the agreements reached, attacking the peacekeepers and engaging in political and military provocations. It was clear that the Georgian leader did not want to settle the issue by peaceful means but instead was preparing for war.

On August 8, 2008, President Saakashvili ordered a military onslaught in the dead of night in order to achieve his goal. The Russian military, forming part of the CIS-mandated peace-keeping mission, was the first to come under attack and suffered casualties. Russia had no choice but to exercise its right to self-defense.

Aftermath of the armed hostilities in Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, 2008 (RIA Novosti / Maksim Avdeev)

The Georgian attacks, repeated over the years, eliminated any trace of hope that the people of Ossetia, Abkhazia and Georgia could peacefully co-exist within a single state in the foreseeable future. The people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia had repeatedly voted for the independence of their republics. We understand that after what happened they have a right to decide for themselves.

The presidents of South Ossetia and Abkhazia appealed to Russia with a request to recognize the state sovereignty of their republics. Russia’s parliament voted in favor, since that was the only way to preserve the right of these peoples to self-determination, as well as to ensure peace and stability in the region, to save lives and create a secure environment for the two nations’ development. For it is not people who exist for a state, but the other way around.

Based on the provisions of the UN Charter, the 1970 declaration on the principles of international law concerning friendly relations among states, OSCE Helsinki Final Act of 1975 and other international instruments, then-President Medvedev on August 26, 2008, signed decrees on the recognition by the Russian Federation of the independence of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Since then, the two republics have been recognized by a number of states and have embarked upon a process of national reconstruction and this is the new reality.




LATEST EVENTS

21.04.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's talking points at the Press Conference, 20 April 2018

Since we met last time a lot of events took place: - Military strikes of the United States, UK and France against Syria in violation of the international law - Mission by OPCW inspectors to Douma - Speech of Prime Minister May in Parliament in support of the British aggression against Syria - Special meeting of the OPCW Executive Council (18 April 2018) - New developments in the classified case of Salisbury poisoning of Skripal family - No meaningful developments on the Glushkov case - and Cyber security threats I plan to comment all these issues. And I will be happy to answer all our questions, if you have any.


17.03.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Mail on Sunday" (full text)

Q: Bearing in mind that the US, France and Germany have said they agree with Britain that all the evidence suggests the attacks in Salisbury were the responsibility of the Russian state, what credibility can be placed on the denials issued by the Russian Government? A:We don't know if UK presented any evidence to US, France and Germany - highly likely none - but if they did, why not present it through the channels outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention? Universal legal principle is presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof lies with the British Government. Its record includes the Iraq WMD dossier - you will remember that at some point doubting US and UK claims was considered a wild conspiracy theory. It is not any more.


26.01.2018 - Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.


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.



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