21 October 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

17.07.2017

“Russia has helped bring stability to Syria” Article of Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov in "the Herald" newspaper, published 14.07.2017

In October 2015, I argued against the leader comments in The Scotsman that “Russian airstrikes in Syria have heightened international tensions to new levels” and calls for “wide international pressure to stop these actions”.

Since then quite a lot has transpired, yet the UK media seems unaware of the fact that the situation in Syria has seen a positive change following the launch of Russia’s military operation. That makes me write again.
A brief reminder would be appropriate. Twenty months ago, after an ineffective 440-day long Western aerial campaign, the situation in Syria could not have been any worse. Conflicting parties did not talk, the Islamic State (IS)-held territories were vastly expanding, the Syrian capital Damascus was about to fall to the IS onslaught, and an acute refugee crisis in Europe was unfolding. It is against this background my country met the request of the Syrian government and agreed to send Russian air force and military advisers to help fight terrorists in Syria.
After the first year of the Russian aerial campaign in Syria 12,000 sq km were liberated from terrorist groups, with 586 settlements and 150 cities being freed.
1500 tons of humanitarian cargo was delivered.
Back in 2016 in the IS and Al-Nusra-controlled territories the situation was critical. Residents of Aleppo – Syria’s second largest city – were trapped by the terrorists in their homes and held as a human shield against attacks.
The Russian military risked their lives to liberate 108,076 civilians, amongst them 47,183 children, and led them to safety under heavy bombardments. Several humanitarian corridors were established in order to give the residents a safe passage from ongoing hostilities. In December 2016 the Russian military negotiated the peaceful evacuation of 28,762 combatants, amongst them 691 wounded, and their family members to be transported unharmed to Idlib province. 6,490 fighters laid down their weapons following the amnesty offered by the Syrian government.
With the help of the Russian military police the city is steadily going back to normal. 16,000 families have returned to their homes in eastern Aleppo comprising more than 69,000 people, amongst them 40,000 children. In eastern districts of Aleppo only from December 2016 to February 2017 Russian field engineers de-mined 2,956 ha, 945 km of roads, 4,500 buildings (including 90 schools, four nurseries and 25 hospitals) and defused 36,000 explosive devices.
From December 2016 to April 2017 Russian doctors provided medical aid to 12,840 civilians living in villages nearby. They conducted 742 surgical operations, half of them being of a sophisticated nature. More than 25 tons of medicines and medical equipment were provided to patients.
In the last two years IS funding has been cut dramatically as a result of the Russian aerial campaign. According to our latest data, the terrorists are experiencing a sharp decline in their monthly oil revenues, that are almost halved, from $50 million more than a year ago to $12-20 million now. Russian air forces have destroyed more than 4,000 IS petrol tankers, 206 oil production facilities, 176 oil refineries and 112 oil pumping facilities.
Let’s be honest. You would never have been aware of these numbers, if you had not read this article, would you? This information is easy to find in open sources in Russia, but who reads in Russian? So the decision was made on your behalf, that it is better for you to think that this data is irrelevant and can be ignored as Russian propaganda.
Russian involvement in the Syrian conflict after almost two years of Western “strange war” has finally laid a basis for stability and dialogue. The future of Syria should be finally in the hands of the Syrian people.

Andrey A.Pritsepov
Consul General of the Russian
Federation in Edinburgh

http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/andrey-pritsepov-russia-has-helped-bring-stability-to-syria-1-4502888

 




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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