22 January 2018
Moscow: 10:48
London: 07:48

Consular queries:  
+44 (0) 203 668 7474  




Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Alfonso Dastis Quecedo

Ladies and gentlemen,

We had very productive talks during which we discussed the entire range of bilateral relations.

Spain is an old and reliable partner for Russia. As you know, this year we marked 40 years of the actual resumption of diplomatic relations between our countries. It is a fact that our bilateral relations go back centuries. Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich sent the first Russian embassy led by Pyotr Potyomkin to Spain 350 years ago.

We stated with mutual regret today that Russian-Spanish cooperation, which we want to develop to the best of our ability, is negatively influenced by the difficult situation in Europe. In this context, we are doing our utmost to preserve and protect the potential of our partnership. We are pleased to say that our bilateral trade, which was declining at a dramatic rate, has increased by 50 per cent in January-March 2017 compared to the same period last year. We will do our utmost to maintain this positive trend. 

The Intergovernmental Commission on Economic and Industrial Cooperation, which held its ninth meeting in Moscow in late May, has a special role in this. A large delegation of Spanish business people, who attended the meeting, also met with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The meeting participants expressed the resolve to look for new opportunities to promote investment projects.

We have agreed to work to step up our ties in other spheres as well. We plan to hold a meeting of the bilateral interagency working group on opposing new challenges and threats in the near term. The group has been working actively and held meetings in 2015 and 2016. This is extremely important in light of the unprecedented increase in international terrorism and extremism. Regrettably, we see daily evidence of continuing terrorist activity, such as the terrorist attacks in Iran today, responsibility for which ISIS has claimed.

We also expressed interest in signing agreements on the mutual recognition and exchange of national driver licences and on the mutual recognition of diplomas and academic degrees as soon as possible. Both agreements concern issues that have a direct bearing on the life of Russians in Spain and Spaniards in Russia.   

We expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the Russian-Spanish Year of Tourism, which was held in 2016-2017. The closing ceremony took place in late May. We hope that the events and the potential we have accumulated during this project will strengthen mutual trust and understanding between our nations. One result of this project is the signing of a joint tourism development programme for 2017-2019. We pointed out that the number of Russian tourists in Spain started growing again last year. Over 800,000 Russians visited Spain and some 110,000 Spanish people visited Russia. I am sure that these figures will grow.  

We also discussed international issues, primarily the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. These conflicts have a direct negative impact on regional security, international stability, and the spread of the terrorist threat and other forms of organised crime. Illegal migration is, of course, directly connected to the developments in these countries. We recalled in this connection that the situation in the region was triggered off by the external interference in the affairs of sovereign states with the aim of changing their governments. I hope that while working to settle these conflicts and prevent new crises, we will draw the right conclusions from what happened in Iraq and Libya and what has almost happened in Syria.    

We discussed prospects of promoting cooperation on all international issues, primarily in the United Nations, the OSCE and other international forums.

We share the view that the current state of Russia-EU relations cannot be described as satisfactory. We consider it necessary to return them to the normal path of steady development. For our part we are ready for this. We hope constructive approaches will also prevail in the EU, considering the proposals submitted during President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker in St Petersburg a year ago.   

We emphasised that the escalation of NATO’s activities in the regions bordering on Russia remains a serious destabilising factor. We reiterated that instead of exchanging unilateral statements as our NATO partners tend to do, we suggest a serious discussion of current military-political security in the Russia-NATO Council. Let us see with facts and maps in hand how the current situation compares with our joint commitments during the signing of the Russia-NATO Founding Act.    

Naturally, we spoke a lot about Ukraine. For all the nuances in the assessment of the genesis and further development of the crisis, Russia and Spain still believe that there is no alternative to implementing all provisions of the Minsk Agreements without exception with a view to reaching a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. Today we described how Russia works on a daily basis in the Normandy format and the Contact Group to achieve the required results. We are exerting influence on our partners in Donetsk and Lugansk while working in the Contact Group. We assume other participants in the Normandy format – Germany and France – will also exert positive influence on its work and will not allow Kiev to artificially impede the fulfilment its commitments, which is the case today.

We noted the absolutely disgraceful blockade of Donbass, which is aggravating the already grave humanitarian situation and undermining Kiev’s obligation under the Minsk Agreements to ensure the economic interconnectedness of all areas of Ukraine. We will continue this line. Literally in the next few days experts will continue compiling the roadmap for implementing the Minsk Agreements. I would like to emphasise again that I hope that the necessary influence will be exerted on Kiev because in private conversations the majority of our partners that are watching developments in Ukraine know very well who is blocking the implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures.

 We are satisfied with the exchange of views.


To be continued...



21.01.2018 - Embassy Press Officer on FCO comments regarding the arrest of Oyub Titiev

Q: On 18 January Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Sir Alan Duncan raised doubts over the arrest of Oyub Titiev, the director of Russian NGO Memorial’s office in Chechnya, questioning its legitimacy. Can you comment on it? A: First of all, we are surprised by such distrust demonstrated by the British authorities towards the Russian legal system. It is worth noting that Mr Titiev was detained on 9 January 2018 after a police patrol during a routine check found a bag in his car containing approximately 180 gram of plant substance, allegedly marijuana. On 11 January he was charged with illegal acquisition and storage of narcotic substances in accordance with Paragraph 2 of Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. On the same day the Shali Town Court decided to detain pending trial him for 2 months. If the court determines that Mr Titiev is not guilty, he will be released immediately. Otherwise, he will be prosecuted in full accordance with the Russian criminal legislation. Public appeals by foreign officials on this case, including those made by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on 11 January and by Minister Sir Alan Duncan are no less than unlawful political pressure on the court aimed at influencing its final decision. Given all that, we consider FCO reaction an unacceptable interference in Russia’s internal affairs.

19.01.2018 - Special screening of the Russian film "Attraction" in Edinburgh

Russian science-fiction film "Attraction" directed by Fedor Bondarchuk has been released in the UK. On the day of the premiere on January 18 a special screening of the film and an expert discussion took place with the participation of representatives of the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews at the "Cineworld IMAX". It was organized by the Consulate General of Russia in Edinburgh together with the Princes Dashkova Russian Centre with the financial support of the Embassy of Russia to the UK. A welcoming address of the Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko was read out.

18.01.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko meets British parliamentarians

On 17 January 2018 Alexander Yakovenko had a meeting with members of both Houses of British Parliament, initiated by the British side under preparations for a short debate on the UK government strategy towards relations with Russia (scheduled for 29 January in the House of Lords).

18.01.2018 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on the Vancouver meeting on North Korea

The results of the Vancouver meeting on the DPRK held on January 16, which are included in the statement of its co-chairs - the United States and Canada - reinforced our doubts about the usefulness of this event. We were perplexed to see Russia and China mentioned in the document, especially given the fact that the foreign ministers of the two countries were not invited to the meeting that was supposed to focus on the Korean issue. We were particularly impressed by a passage on the importance and special responsibility of Russia and China in finding long-term solutions to Korean Peninsula issues. I would like to note that our countries have been offering such a solution and urging others to join it for a year now.

17.01.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a news conference on Russian diplomacy in 2017

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a news conference on Russian diplomacy in 2017, Moscow, January 15, 2018

17.01.2018 - Response of the Embassy’s press-secretary to the media question on North Korea nuclear issue

Q: Speaking to the Guardian ahead of an international conference on North Korea in Vancouver, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that North Korea is “a threat of the kind the world has not known since the dawn of the atomic age”. What is Russia's position on the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear problem in general and on Vancouver’s conference in particular?

17.01.2018 - Russian Embassy’s press secretary responds to Reuters question

Q: Do you have any comment on the Ministry of Defence statements on interception of Russian planes near UK airspace, prominently featuring in the media in the recent days?

15.01.2018 - Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, January 12, 2018

12.01.2018 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

On January 12, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif.

12.01.2018 - Ushakov Medal presented to the Arctic Convoys Veteran

On 11 January 2018 Third Secretary of the Embassy Vadim Retyunskiy presented the Ushakov medal to the Arctic Convoys veteran Mr Bernard David DAVIES who was awarded this military honour by Decree of the President of the Russian Federation for his personal courage and bravery displayed in WWII.

all messages