17 January 2020
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684 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     676 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



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.

 Q: What is your response to the claims by the British Government that the attacks were timed to boost Mr Putin’s popularity on the eve of the election in Russia?

 A: So far they have only boosted the popularity of Mrs May, as polls show. The Government has seized the opportunity to present itself as robust and competent to the public opinion. And if you look at the media, the attack is being exploited to undermine the popularity of Mr Putin and the prospects of the FIFA World Cup in Russia. 

 Q: What is your message to Prime Minister Theresa May?

 A: Highly likely the Cabinet views the crisis as a "short, victorious war" to score points at home - but it's not going to be like that. Russia has strategic patience. So the message is - Investigate before you accuse. Sabre rattling does not solve the major challenges like Brexit talks but it makes "Global Britain" less global if you cut dialogue with Russia. 

 Q:What is your message to Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn?

 A: Same.

 Q:What is your response to British commentators who say that Russia has become a ‘rogue state?’

A: Russia's record is cleaner than Britain's. We didn't invade Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya. And in Syria we have helped the government to destroy ISIS (which makes no distinctions between Russian and Britons - we are all targets for them) and now work for a political solution. We don't tell other nations how to vote. We support UN peacekeeping effort around the globe and build successful alliances with most countries of the world: in Asia-Pacific, Central Asia and Middle East, Latin America, Africa, much of Europe. We have excellent relations with China and India. This is not something you would call a rogue state, right?

Q: Theresa May indicated today she is to take further steps in response to Russia’s expulsion of 23 British diplomats and other measures against the UK. What is your response?

A: In case of further unfriendly actions against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures – this is what the British Ambassador was told on Saturday.

 Q: She said ‘there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable’ for the attempted assassination of the Skripals. What is your response?

A: If she says that, this means she is based not on facts but on artificial conclusions, and not very logical ones. The Russian state has neither a motive nor means to commit such an act. Why should the Russian state attempt to poison an entire city with a substance it doesn’t even have, on the eve of the World Cup?

 Q: She said: ‘Russian aggression is the very antithesis of the liberal and democratic values that define the UK.’ What is your response?

A: Russia shares democratic values. This is why we have a presidential election this Sunday – and despite the expulsions the polling station at the Embassy will work as planned. We are not living in Cold War times, and while interests and policies do differ there is no ideology that separates Russia from Britain.

Q: Do you fear this dispute is escalating out of control?

A: This dispute is indeed escalating dangerously and out of proportion. Restraint is needed, and cooler heads.

Q: Some people in the UK worry that you may cut off energy supplies to the UK because of this dispute. Can you reassure them you will not do this?

A: Russia is a reliable supplier, it has never broken its contracts. The supplier depends on the customer as much as the other way round. 

 Q: Can you give an assurance you will not launch cyber warfare against the UK?

A: UN Charter forbids threat or use of force – this is an obligation for both Russia and Britain. During his visit to Moscow last December, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson received an offer from Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to hold consultations on cybersecurity, like we do with China, India and many other countries. We are keen to talk to other international players to establish rules of behaviour in cyberspace: what is allowed and what is not, what constitutes aggression, how to respond to incidents etc. No reply so far. So while Russia is being constructive, British MPs and media, and with implied connivance of the state, are suggesting cyberstrikes against Russia. You won’t hear this language in Moscow. 

Q: What do you say to those who argue that Mr Putin is acting like a gangster?

A: “Gangster” is not a Russian word. As I said, we have a different dictionary.  

This interview is published, in abridged form, in the 18 March 2018 edition of "Mail on Sunday"


16.01.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at a plenary session of the Raisina Dialogue international conference, New Delhi, January 15, 2020

Good morning and bon appetit to those who have some food on their tables. I would like first of all to thank the organisers of this conference for the invitation. I understand this is a young forum, but it managed already in a few years to acquire importance, popularity and reputation. It is indeed very appropriate that we get together more often than in the past to discuss where we are in international relations and which way we are heading.

15.01.2020 - Interview of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with the Times of India newspaper, published on January 15, 2020

Question: What areas of cooperation will be in the focus of your visit to India and will determine the strategic partnership between the two states in 2020? What do you think about the Indian-Russian cooperation in general? Sergey Lavrov: This is a special year for our countries. Twenty years ago, India and Russia signed the Declaration on Strategic Partnership.

14.01.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to the Times in response to the Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki on World War II

Sir, Polish Ambassador Rzegocki, in his letter published on 9 January, proposes to “question the USSR’s status as liberator”, claiming that Molotov-Ribbentrop pact “sparked the war and a double totalitarian invasion of Poland”. Let me suggest to my Polish colleague to look deeper into the history of that time.

14.01.2020 - Interview of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with the Daily News Sri Lankan newspaper, published on January 13, 2020

Question: Since the end of the Cold War and the inception of the multipolar world order, you have spent many years engaged in international affairs and geopolitics. Are there any peculiarities in the relations between Sri Lanka and Russia originating in that period? Sergey Lavrov: The relations between our states have always been intrinsically valuable and independent from international developments. They have always been and continue to be based on the principles of equality, trust, mutual respect and consideration of one another's interests. The peculiarities specific to certain periods of history are of marginal significance, since they do not affect the inviolability of the bonds of friendship uniting our peoples.

19.12.2019 - President Vladimir Putin replies to a BBC question during his annual press conference Moscow, 19 December 2019

I know what the interests of my country are. And whatever somebody might say about me, this has no importance whatsoever when compared to the fundamental tasks that Russia is interested in solving. But of course, we see, we hear, we understand and we take those views into consideration in our work.

18.12.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article Neighbours in Europe. Russia-EU: Thirty Years of Relations for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, December 18, 2019

Thirty years ago, on December 18, 1989, Brussels hosted the signing of the Agreement on Trade and Commercial and Economic Cooperation between the USSR and the European communities. This date became the point of departure for official relations between Russia as the successor state of the USSR and the European Union. Symbolically, the Agreement was signed slightly over a month after the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event that came down in history as a landmark signifying the end of the Cold War, a period, when the continent was divided into two opposing ideological blocs. The founders of the Russia-EU partnership knew that it would be impossible to erase the centuries-old divides on the continent unless a broad framework for cooperation was created in Europe. Both sides intended to make it mutually beneficial, long-term, and resistant to economic and political fluctuations.

06.12.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 26th OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, Bratislava, December 5, 2019

Mr Chairperson-in-Office, Mr Secretary General, Ladies and Gentlemen, First of all, allow me to thank Slovakia’s Chairmanship for its hospitality. Here in Bratislava, where Western and Eastern Europe meet, we are reminded that the purpose of our organisation is to facilitate the emergence of shared security through cooperation, as well as the removal of dividing lines and the growth of mutual trust. The goal adopted at the 2010 Astana summit of building a community of equal, comprehensive and indivisible security should remain our utmost priority. Today, CSTO foreign ministers adopted a statement to this effect, reaffirming their commitment to this objective.

29.11.2019 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s speech at the opening of the V Russian-British Business Forum in London, 27 November 2019

Ladies and gentlemen! I am pleased with the opportunity to deliver my first speech as Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom at the Russian-British Business Forum. Over the five years, the Forum has become a solid platform for open and direct dialogue and exchange of views, involving both business community and officials. The number of participants has been growing annually. Together, we have managed to create a constructive atmosphere of partnership.

28.11.2019 - Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov’s reply to a media question concerning the recent statement of the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff

Q: How would you comment on the statement made by the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Nicholas Carter that the UK is in a state of cyber war with Russia? Has London raised this matter with Moscow? Has the British side provided any evidence? A.: This is not the first statement of this sort made by the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Carter, and it certainly needs to be considered in the context of the large-scale anti-Russian propaganda campaign launched by the British government.

21.11.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Moscow, November 20, 2019

We have had very good talks with my Bahraini colleague and friend, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, and we have reached agreements on all the issues we discussed.

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