27 October 2020
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968 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     960 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during a joint news conference following talks with Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, Moscow, October 21, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have held detailed talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria Ekaterina Zaharieva. It is symbolic that this is our Bulgarian colleague’s first visit to Russia and that it has taken place this year, which marks the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries.

We welcomed the increasingly active political dialogue. A series of important meetings was held this year, including those at the top level. I am talking about Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s official visit to Bulgaria; the participation of the Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum and his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin; and Speaker of the Bulgarian National Assembly Tsveta Karayancheva’s visit to Russia. In addition, Dmitry Medvedev and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov met on the sidelines of the First Caspian Economic Forum in Turkmenistan in August 2019.

The joint efforts to promote political dialogue have brought results, which is proved by the improvement of our trade and economic relations. We commended the results of the meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation that took place in Varna this September. We also agreed to assist in the implementation of the decisions that were made during the meeting in a variety of spheres, from trade and transport to education and sports.

Our energy cooperation is improving and bringing results. Our Bulgarian colleagues informed us that the construction of the infrastructure for gas deliveries via the second line of the TurkStream pipeline has begun. As Ms Zaharieva said, the launch ceremony took place today with the participation of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria Anatoly Makarov. Our partners emphasised that the works will be concluded by 2020, as scheduled. At the same time, the Bulgarian Cabinet of Ministers is taking concrete steps to resume the construction of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant. The Bulgarian authorities are currently selecting the project’s strategic investor. Russia’s Rosatom State Corporation, which is the manufacturer of nuclear reactors and the owner of technology, will take an active part in this process.

We expressed satisfaction with Russian-Bulgarian cultural and humanitarian cooperation. We also thanked the Bulgarian Government for its efforts to create conditions for the study of Russian, which has been the second most popular foreign language in Bulgaria over the past 10 years. It is gratifying that Bulgarian young people demonstrate a significant amount of interest in studying at Russian universities. This academic year, 230 Bulgarian students have been enrolled at Russian universities and their tuition fees will be paid from the federal budget. At the same time, several hundred Russian citizens are studying in Bulgaria.

We have agreed to encourage tourism. Last year, over half a million Russians visited Bulgaria. We would like to see this figure increase. We would be glad also if more Bulgarian citizens visited Russia.

We have agreed to intensify our efforts to improve the contractual legal framework of our relations. The documents to which we attach priority importance include an intergovernmental agreement on licence relations and an intergovernmental programme of cooperation in culture, education and science, as well as an intergovernmental agreement on military graves.

I have delivered the documents on the state registration of the right of permanent (perpetual) use of the Bulgarian Embassy site in Russia to my Bulgarian colleague. We hope that our partners will reciprocate in the settlement of problems with Russian state properties in Bulgaria.

We exchanged views on current international topics in a constructive and trust-based manner. We focused on the Balkans, where the situation is, regrettably, far from simple. Russia is against viewing this region as a scene of geopolitical confrontation. We are interested in stabilisation and sustainable development there. In particular, we firmly proceed from the premise that a settlement in Kosovo must be based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and that the situation in Bosnia must develop in keeping with the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement.

We discussed our cooperation within the framework of the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), where Bulgaria presided in the first half of 2019. We also talked about the current and future relations between Russia and the EU, including in the context of the recent reshuffle in the European Commission.

We exchanged views on the developments in Ukraine after the presidential election. We reaffirmed our commitment to the Minsk Package of Measures for a settlement in eastern Ukraine.

Madam Minister kindly invited me to come to Bulgaria on a reciprocal visit. I accept this invitation with pleasure and gratitude. 

Question (for both ministers, retranslated from Bulgarian): Have you discussed energy issues? Are you going to develop joint projects in this area? Have you reached specific agreements?

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Ms Zaharieva): We think we have very good prospects for developing trade and economic ties. As was already mentioned today, in September Varna hosted a regular meeting of the Russian-Bulgarian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic,  Scientific  and Technical Cooperation that mapped out further steps to promote economic cooperation that are bound to increase trade.

Speaking about specific projects, Ms Zaharieva mentioned that the modernisation of two energy units at the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant has been completed quite recently. Their service life was extended, and they are functioning effectively. Rosatom is ready to take part in the bidding for a contractor to resume the construction of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant. We hope our corporation has good chances to win it, considering that it produces reactors and owns the technology. As Minister Zaharieva said, today’s event – the launching of the construction of Balkan Stream – is a big step towards expanding the second leg of TurkStream to European consumers. It will obviously enhance Europe’s energy security.

Today, we also spoke about transport projects: resumption of ferry service and projects that are under review in the multilateral format by the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (OBSEC). There are promising agreements to promote the format of a single customs window which will simplify trade procedures and the decision made last May to form a common marine agenda. The sides are also discussing the formation of a leading group to promote a very promising project that will not only facilitate the sustainable socioeconomic development of the Black Sea area but also create better conditions for ensuring political stability in the region. We appreciate Bulgaria’s active role in this project and will support it.

Question: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu revealed the details of the meeting between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi. Turkey wants to discuss the situation in the districts of Manbij and Ayn al-Arab after the Syrian Army established control over them. Erdogan’s advisor believes that if the Syrian Army defends the Kurds, it will be an open declaration of war on Turkey. Do you think it is necessary to start implementing the Adana agreement and revise its details to address the concerns of both sides?

Sergey Lavrov: I will not comment on what an advisor or some other official said. We have a position that we are openly promoting and consider optimal in the current situation. According to it, the goal is to make all Kurdish structures legal in the Syrian Arab Republic and conform with the Syrian Constitution so that there are no illegal armed units in Syria and there is no threat from its territory to the security of the Republic of Turkey or any other states. To reach this goal, and we believe this is the only correct way of resolving the current situation, it is necessary to maintain a dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus. We are going to encourage this dialogue in every possible way. Both sides are interested in Russia’s help with it.

Of course, it is necessary to maintain dialogue between Turkey and Syria, in which we are also willing to facilitate and encourage direct contacts. Obviously, dialogue between Ankara and Damascus should rely on the 1998 Adana agreement. This is the existing international legal foundation that was recently confirmed by both sides, including in the context of the latest developments. If during their contacts the sides decide it is necessary and mutually acceptable to clarify or change this agreement, that will be up to them. We will of course accept and support their decision.

Question: Last week it was reported that Russia plans to hold a Syrian-Turkish meeting in Sochi. Will it really be held and at what level?

Sergey Lavrov: A representative of the Presidential Executive Office has already commented on this issue. We do not plan to have such contacts.

Question (retranslated from Bulgarian): As we understood, you accepted the invitation of Foreign Minister Zaharieva to visit Bulgaria. When is President of Russia Vladimir Putin expected to come to Sofia?

Sergey Lavrov: As you understand, I receive an invitation from the Minister and respond to it. Top-level contacts are the domain of the relevant agencies – presidential executive offices. President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borissov are in regular contact. I am sure when there is a real opportunity for this, they will take advantage of it.


26.10.2020 - Statement by Vladimir Putin on additional steps to de-escalate the situation in Europe in the wake of the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty)

The Russian Federation continues to believe that the INF Treaty was an important part of the architecture to ensure international security and strategic stability. The Treaty was essential to maintaining predictability and restraint in the missile sphere in Europe. We consider the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, as a result of which it was terminated, a serious mistake, which increases the risks of unleashing a missile arms race, stepping up confrontational potential and sliding into uncontrollable escalation. Given the unrelenting tension between Russia and NATO, new threats to European security are becoming evident.

26.10.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the Athens News Agency – Macedonian Press Agency (ANA-MPA), October 26, 2020

Question: It is four years since your previous visit, what is the significance of your trip to Athens this time? Do you think that the 200th anniversary of the Greek War of Independence celebrations is a reason for deepening Russian-Greek relations, and if so, in which spheres? Sergey Lavrov: I am delighted to have this opportunity to return to Greece again. My previous working visit to Athens in 2016 took place during the implementation of an unprecedented joint project, a cross-cultural year between Russia and Greece, the main event of which was a visit by President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

21.10.2020 - Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s comment on the criminal charges brought against Russian citizens by the American authorities

The US administration has once again made news with another anti-Russia attack, accusing our government agencies of malicious activities in the field of information and communications technology.

20.10.2020 - Foreign Ministry statement on New START Treaty Extension

We have received no official response from the United States to our Note dated October 16 which contains the proposal put forward by President Vladimir Putin to extend the New START Treaty for one year. We have noticed only some comments made by U.S. officials on social media platforms. Given contradictory reactions to the actual situation, we want to clarify.

20.10.2020 - Embassy comment with regard to new accusations against Russia

Accusations of numerous cyber attacks (conducted without any meaningful purpose or result) that British authorities mount against Russia on a nearly daily basis form another cycle of their unprovoked malicious campaign.

19.10.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answer to a media question at a joint news conference following talks with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić, Moscow, October 19, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, This visit by Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, draws a symbolic line under the system-wide crisis affecting the Council of Europe in 2014-2019 due to the illegal actions of a number of its Parliamentary Assembly members that run contrary to the organisation’s charter.

14.10.2020 - Statement by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Geneva-Moscow, 13 October 2020

The Co-Chairs note with alarm the continuing violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Co-Chairs call on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to take immediate steps to execute in full the obligations of the sides according to the October 10 Moscow statement, in order to prevent catastrophic consequences for the region.

11.10.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Denmark Jeppe Kofod, October 9, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, We have held talks with Foreign Minister of Denmark Jeppe Kofod. We have many urgent issues on our bilateral agenda, including some that have piled up since our last meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September 2019.

08.10.2020 - Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the joint statement by the French and German foreign ministers on the situation with Alexey Navalny

The statement by the two ministers, which is unacceptable both in content and tone, points to the outright reluctance of Paris and Berlin to consider the facts that were set forth by Russian representatives more than once. Instead of properly cooperating with the Russian Federation with a view to clearing up the circumstances of the incident with the blogger, the German and French governments have now turned to threats and blackmail against us.

07.10.2020 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on the developments around Alexey Navalny

We noted the fairly predictable and prompt response with which German officials agreed to the publication of a report on the results of a study on Alexey Navalny’s bio materials on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) website. These results were received shortly before, probably, timed to the beginning of the OPCW Executive Council session.

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