23 January 2018
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The humanitarian crisis in Syria must be solved “on the ground” (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK, for Russia Today)

As is known, the second round of inter-Syrian talks began on 10 February in Geneva. Everybody seemed to be aware of the critical importance of maintaining dialogue between the Government and the opposition for the sake of political settlement of the conflict and agreeing on a common vision for the future of Syria.

However, once again we are witnessing what can only be described as an attempt to undermine the fragile political process. This time our partners are trying to use the humanitarian issue (as they did with the topic of chemical weapons recently) to disrupt the political process and create pretexts for a return to the military scenario aimed at a regime change. On 11 February a group of UN Security Council members introduced a draft resolution on humanitarian situation in Syria. The authors of the document interpret very selectively the situation in Syria and shift all the blame for the humanitarian crisis onto the Government ignoring the actions of militants that cause real problems in the humanitarian sphere. The draft resolution is written in a categorical tone and contains the threat of sanctions. This is in stark contradiction with the Geneva Communiqué that serves the basis for the current international efforts on Syria.

No doubt the humanitarian crisis is one of the most pressing problems in Syria. Still, emotional rhetoric and threats cannot replace practical steps “on the ground”, which are now required and are actively undertaken by international humanitarian agencies. Russia is trying to help this work in a substantial way, facilitating their dialogue with the Syrian authorities to address specific problems. Such painstaking and patient approach has successfully solved the problem of the delivery of humanitarian aid to the town of Homs and the “Yarmouk” Palestinian refugee camp (although in both cases, the militants were trying to disrupt implementation of these operations).

It is not difficult to understand that if all of us really want to improve the humanitarian situation, we need to work with the Government and the opposition – to unblock other populated areas, primarily those which are now besieged or occupied by militants – Noble, Al-Zahra, El Haseke, etc. Оur western colleagues have not shown any enthusiasm in coordinating a Homs-like operation for those localities, something that we have proposed on successive occasions. Instead, they are choosing the easiest “solution” which is to adopt another resolution.

However, since a number of our partners are convinced that the Security Council should have something to say on the humanitarian issue, Russia has prepared its own draft resolution, which we have put forward for discussion. That draft is based on the main provisions of the Presidential Statement on Syria adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on October 2, 2013. It is aimed to ensure that humanitarian problems are solved through dialogue and in accordance with international humanitarian law. For the sake of peaceful solution in Syria it is critical to refrain from making the humanitarian crisis subject matter for speculations and a pretext for turning back to the military scenario.


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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