24 January 2021
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1057 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1049 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in connection with the Paris Normandy format summit’s anniversary

Kiev’s continued reluctance to fulfill its obligations under the Minsk Package of Measures and the Normandy format agreements, and Berlin and Paris’ connivance with the Ukrainian authorities’ destructive policy are a cause for concern.

One year ago today, on December 9, 2019, at the Normandy summit in Paris, the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine reiterated that there was no alternative to the Minsk agreements as the basis for resolving the conflict in Donbass and outlined seven priority steps to be taken by Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk. It included observing the ceasefire, separating forces, demining, exchanging detainees, opening contact line checkpoints, coordinating the legal aspects of Donbass’ special status with the inclusion of the Steinmeier formula in Ukrainian legislation, which determines the procedure for the gradual entry into force of the special status.

Kiev and Donbass were expected to implement this programme in four months. In April, another Normandy summit was supposed to come up with more steps to implement the Package of Measures. However, even after a year, only two of the seven Paris decisions have been implemented, and only partially. In July, following persistent resistance from Ukraine, additional measures to consolidate the ceasefire went into effect, which had been largely distorted or disavowed by Kiev unilaterally by September. At present, the ceasefire is being somewhat observed only because Donbass is not responding to Ukraine’s shelling and violations of other measures. Two detainee exchanges have taken place, in December 2019 and in April 2020. But in fact, Kiev failed to clear all of these individuals, which is why some people may be arrested again.

There is no progress on the other Paris decisions. Kiev continues to replace practical work with going through the motions and a feigned constructive approach. The opening of the Shchastye and Zolotoye checkpoints in the Lugansk region in early November is a case in point. Throughout the year, Kiev has been slowing this process, has refused to provide security guarantees, and has kept the OSCE and Lugansk in the dark about the work underway on its territory. As a result, it built crossings only for pedestrians, knowing full well that Lugansk was preparing vehicle crossings that are critical for humanitarian aid deliveries.

The situation is about the same with other Paris directives. The political aspects are in the worst shape. Ukraine has still done nothing on agreements with Donbass on all aspects of a political settlement, including making the Steinmeier formula part of the law on the special status of Donbass, which expires on December 31. Representatives of Ukraine refuse to provide even general outlines for the future status of Donbass. Even if Kiev formally renews the current law, this will again be done without the aforementioned formula or any other agreed to special status, as provided for by the Minsk agreements and the Paris summit decisions.

A resolution adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in July on holding local elections in Ukraine, except Donbass, came as a major irritant that blocked the Contact Group’s activities. The conditions that the parliamentarians put forward for Donetsk and Lugansk grossly violate the Package of Measures. To get beyond the impasse, Donbass suggested that Kiev agree on an action plan for the deputies in the vein of the Minsk agreements, and provided a draft of this document. In response, Kiev presented its Plan of Joint Steps which to an even greater degree trampled on the Package of Measures, and ignored the proposals advanced by Donbass. In the Contact Group, the representatives of Ukraine came up with an absurd proposal for recognising as “non-existent” the project introduced by Donbass and officially received by Ukraine.

Unfortunately, Ukraine's destructive actions did not elicit a proper response from the settlement co-sponsors, namely, Germany and France. Doubts about the sincerity of their intentions to help overcome the Ukraine crisis were confirmed by their efforts to disrupt the Arria-formula meeting of the UN Security Council on December 2, which was dedicated to implementing the Minsk agreements, in which representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk took part. Fearful of hearing the truth, Germany, France, Ukraine and a number of other countries refused to participate in this meeting.

Admittedly, the situation that we witnessed after the Normandy summit in Berlin in 2016 is here again. It took Kiev more than three years to implement only some of its decisions, and this was only possible after the presidential and parliamentary elections. We hope that this time France and Germany will help convince our Ukrainian partners of the need to implement a simple set of practical steps that are clearly outlined in the Package of Measures and the decisions of the Normandy format summit in Paris, through a direct dialogue with representatives of certain regions of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions.


21.01.2021 - Press release on the future of New START

When it comes to arms control, the previous US administration worked consistently and systematically to destroy the agreements which prevented Washington from arbitrarily building up, projecting and using military force and which it saw as an obstacle on its way to “victory” in the “great power rivalry” it itself declared.

19.01.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks and answers to media questions at a news conference on the results of Russian diplomacy in 2020, Moscow, January 18, 2021

This is our traditional news conference on the foreign policy outcomes of 2020. It is traditional, but remote. We opted for a format that was widely used over the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions imposed in almost all countries, including Russia.

15.01.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions during a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Moscow, January 14, 2021

Ladies and gentlemen, We had substantive and meaningful talks. We discussed the further development of the friendly and trustworthy relations between our countries in accordance with the agreements reached during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Riyadh in the autumn of 2019, and subsequent telephone conversations at top level.

01.01.2021 - President Vladimir Putin's New Year Address to the Nation

Citizens of Russia, friends, The year 2020 will be over in just a few minutes. As we were welcoming it a year ago today, just like people around the world, we thought and dreamed of changes for the better. No one could have imagined back then what kind of trials would come our way. Now, it appears that the outgoing year has taken in the burden of many years. It was a difficult year for all of us, with worries and serious financial difficulties, bitter experiences and, for some, loss of the loved ones.

29.12.2020 - Main Foreign Policy Results in 2020

In 2020, Russia’s foreign policy focused on making better use of the potential for international cooperation in the interests of protecting national security, promoting the country’s socioeconomic development and encouraging approaches to current global and regional problems that meet the interests of Russia.

22.12.2020 - Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

We consider the adoption by the European Union at the behest of its leading Member States of illegitimate restrictive measures against some of our fellow citizens under the pretext of their alleged involvement in the incident with Russian citizen Alexei Navalny to be absolutely unacceptable.

22.12.2020 - Foreign Ministry statement regarding OPCW response to Russia’s request for technical assistance to clarify the situation around Alexey Navalny

On October 1, we sent a request to Fernando Arias, Director-General of the OPCW and head of its Technical Secretariat, for technical assistance under Clause 38 (е) of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Two and a half months later, we are still waiting for a meaningful response. Their explanation is the absence of the German authorities’ permission for full-scale cooperation between the agency’s experts and competent Russian organisations to clarify the circumstances of what Berlin describes as the poisoning of the blogger. Russia’s suggestions regarding the main modalities of a planned visit of OPCW Technical Secretariat’s representatives to Russia have been rejected as well.

19.12.2020 - Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Russian and Syrian efforts to eradicate terrorism in Syria

Moscow has taken note of a statement made by US Secretary of State’s Special Envoy for Syria Joel Rayburn to the effect that Russia and the Assad regime are aggravating the problem of terrorism in Syria. He has accused Moscow and Damascus, without any substantiation, of involvement in the bombing and artillery raids on Idlib, which allegedly do not target terrorists but innocent civilians, infrastructure and armed opposition groups. He has also said that he believes that Russia and the Damascus regime are not doing enough to combat terrorism.

14.12.2020 - Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the new round of British anti-Russia sanctions

We were puzzled by the decision announced by the British government on December 10, 2020 to impose sanctions against three Russian individuals and a unit of the National Guard over the alleged human rights violations in the Chechen Republic.

11.12.2020 - Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on a new set of US sanctions

Regrettably, the US authorities have decided to celebrate Human Rights Day, which is marked on December 10, by adopting new sanctions against Russian individuals and entities.

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