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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

29.06.2017

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the opening ceremony of the 14th Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities, Krasnodar, June 28, 2017

Mr Minister,

Mr Kondratyev,

Mr Pervyshov,

Colleagues, friends,

First of all, I would like to thank the Krasnodar Territory authorities for the hospitality and warm welcome they have accorded us. I am pleased at this opportunity, together with the leadership of this territory and this city, to welcome my German colleague Sigmar Gabriel.

I am greatly honoured to take part in the opening ceremony of the 14th Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities. This forum, which took over from Karlsruhe, is an important event in the vast array of bilateral interregional and people-to-people contacts. Considering the current situation in Europe, when relations between our states – to put it bluntly – are going through hard times, such depoliticised cooperation is an important element in fostering an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding between nations and countries. Taking advantage of this opportunity, I would particularly like to note the contribution made by the Sister Cities international association to preparing this event and fostering Russian-German cooperation in general.

We have always sought and will continue to seek to build our relations with Germany on the basis of equality and consideration for each other’s interests. History and recent experience show that deviating from these principles causes serious damage to both our countries and the stable development of the European continent as a whole. We are still open to close coordination of efforts in the interest of strengthening European security, for which our countries bear special responsibility, and we are ready to work together to counter global threats and challenges, primarily international terrorism and extremism.

Lately, our ties have acquired a more constructive and pragmatic nature. The top-level dialogue is moving forward. On May 2, President Vladimir Putin had talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sochi. We will be happy to host the German president in Russia.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier has received an invitation. Interparliamentary and interministerial exchanges continue, including between our diplomatic services. The high-level working group on security issues is resuming full-scale activity.

We welcome the positive trends in the trade and economic sphere. In the first quarter of this year, trade was up by one-third, year on year. A lot was said recently at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, in which our German partners took a very active part, about the interest of German business circles in expanding their operations in Russia. Major joint projects are under way and mutual investment activity is expanding. The interagency working group on strategic cooperation in the economic and financial sphere, which will next meet in July, makes a valuable contribution to efforts in this area.

Cultural, humanitarian, scientific and educational cooperation, as well as cooperation in historical and memorial activities, is expanding. Contacts between civil societies, including as part of such influential discussion forums as the St Petersburg Dialogue and Potsdam Meetings, are as relevant as ever. The bilateral year of youth exchanges was a great success. Mr Gabriel and I plan to attend its closing ceremony in Berlin on July 13.

Today, my colleague and I are giving the go-ahead to a new joint initiative – the bilateral year of regional and municipal partnerships, which will be held under our patronage. Its extensive programme in Russian regions and German federal lands includes numerous activities in various fields – from the economy and business to culture and sport. I am inviting the heads of Russian and German regions and cities to take an active part in it. We will mark the anniversaries of the establishment of ties between Moscow and Düsseldorf, St Petersburg and Hamburg, and other cities and regions.

Overall, we have many positive examples of joint efforts. They should lay the groundwork for a new unifying, forward-looking bilateral agenda, which would not depend on the political situation of the moment, and for returning our relations back to the path of strategic partnership for the good of our nations, Europe and the world as a whole.

Obviously, Russians and Germans must not be allowed to become alienated from each other. The path of postwar reconciliation and subsequent rapprochement was far too long and hard. It may be recalled that many prominent statesman have consistently advocated for friendship and neighbourliness between Russia and Germany, including such an influential, thoughtful and farsighted politician as Helmut Kohl, who, unfortunately, died recently. President Vladimir Putin recalled his meetings with Mr Kohl, stressing that he had urged everyone to renounce phobias and look to the future.

I would like to wish the conference organisers and participants success in your important and much-needed work.




LATEST EVENTS

15.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the ties between “Bellingcat” and secret services

Question: Russian officials claim that “Bellingcat” is connected to intelligence agencies of the Western countries, but do not present any evidence of such ties. Doesn’t such approach contradict Russia’s position on the Salisbury incident, the MH-17 catastrophe and other notable cases, where the Russian government is continuously demanding to publish proofs of accusations? Answer: There is no contradiction. The fact that “Bellingcat” is affiliated to the intelligence services is obvious considering the whole range of relevant circumstances: date of its foundation (several days prior to the MH-17 catastrophe), nature of published information (which combines signs of intelligence data and highly professional fakes), its orientation (always anti-Russian), timeline of publications (each time at the best moment from the point of view of interests of NATO countries), biography of its leader (Elliot Higgins suddenly turned from a PC gamer into an “icon of independent journalism), non-transparency of its internal structure and financing. If “Bellingcat” can provide any other plausible explanation for such combination of facts, it should be presented to the public.


15.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the British government calls to step up anti-Russian sanctions

Question: How would you comment on the news that the British government has been lobbying a new EU sanctions regime against Russian nationals allegedly involved in use of chemical weapons and cyber-attacks in Europe? Answer: We have taken note of the respective statement by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of 14 October and the relevant media reports. These suggest that, faced with an imminent Brexit, the British government makes every effort to step up the sanctions pressure on Russia and to complicate as much as possible Russia-EU relations after Brexit.


13.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the investigation of the death of Nikolay Glushkov

Q.: 12 October marks seven months since the death of Nikolay Glushkov. Does the Embassy have any new information on this case? A.: Unfortunately, once again we have to state that the British side continues to evade any sort of cooperation with Russia with regard to the investigation of the death of former Deputy Director General of “Aeroflot” Mr Glushkov that occurred on British soil on 12 March. The British authorities continue to ignore numerous Russian requests, including the official request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation for legal assistance in the criminal case opened in Russia into the Nikolay Glushkov’s death. There are no answers to the Embassy’s proposals to arrange a meeting or consultations between the Investigative Committee, Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation experts and the Metropolitan Police representatives.


12.10.2018 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s introductory remarks at the press-conference on 12 October 2018

Ladies and gentlemen, In recent weeks we have received a number of media requests concerning the current state of bilateral affairs between Russia and the United Kingdom. I am also often asked how numerous anti-Russian statements by the British officials influence our approach towards the UK. Considering this, I have decided to invite you today to make respective short comments on these issues and answer your additional questions. Currently the relations between Russia and the UK are at a very low level. The reason for that lies in an aggressive anti-Ru ssian campaign launched by the current Tory government and supported by the British media.


09.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the new Bellingcat’s investigation

Question: How would you comment on Bellingcat’s claims that it has “tracked down Alexander Petrov’s real identity”? Answer: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently advised us to consider such publications and statements as a display of freedom of public debate into which the UK Government does not interfere. There have already been reports that the Home Office and Metropolitan Police would not comment on these “speculations”. This is exactly the case when we should follow the example of our British colleagues.


08.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the UK authorities’ reaction to Russia’s official requests following recent flagrant media publications

Question: The Embassy declared its intent to request clarifications from the British side following the recent accusations of cyberattacks, and the media reports on preparations for retaliatory cyberstrikes against targets in Russia. Has there been any response? Answer: Today we have received a reply from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which implies that, as before, the British side is not going to provide us with any details that may serve as the basis of the accusations. In this case, we are not in a position to make comments on the essence of those accusations.


05.10.2018 - Embassy comment on another groundless British accusation against Russia

On 4 October, UK Permanent Representative to OPCW Peter Wilson speaking on behalf of Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan claimed that the “GRU” allegedly “attempted to compromise UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office computer systems via a spear phishing attack” and “targeted computers of the UK Defence and Science Technology Laboratory”. The same day the UK National Cyber Security Centre stated that “multiple email accounts belonging to a small UK-based TV station were accessed and content stolen” and “the GRU was almost certainly responsible”.Today, the Embassy has forwarded a Note Verbale to the FCO demanding that the UK Government produces and immediately shares with the Russian side hard evidence and proofs supporting those claims, and informs about sources used to draw such conclusions. We have reminded, in particular, that Russia had repeatedly proposed expert consultations on cybersecurity in order to address UK’s concerns, if any.


04.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the BBC journalist Mark Urban’s book on Sergei Skripal

Q.: How would you comment on the Mark Urban’s book on Sergei Skripal published on 4 October? A.: We intend yet to study this book. At the same time, it is a well known fact that Mark Urban has close links with British secret services. This gives us grounds for considering this book as an attempt to compensate for Sergei Skripal’s public non-appearance as the key witness to the Salisbury incident. Instead of facts, the public is again offered speculation and guesses.


04.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the recent anti-Russian statement by the Foreign Office

Question: How would you comment on today’s statement by the Foreign Office accusing Russia of worldwide cyber-attacks on massive scale? Answer: This statement is reckless. It has become a tradition for such claims to lack any evidence. It is yet another element of the anti-Russian campaign by the UK Government.


03.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on INF Treaty

Question: How would you comment on the latest statements by US officials on Russia’s alleged non-compliance with INF Treaty? Answer: Russia has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty). The US allegations of Russian non-compliance relate to one particular missile type. While we have assured Washington on multiple occasions that the mentioned missile does not violate INF, the US has never explained the exact reasons of their preoccupation. These allegations divert attention from the American actions that are breaching a number of INF provisions.



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