18 March 2018
Moscow: 03:16
London: 00:16

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Comment by the Information and Press Department on compliance with transparency measures during preparation for West 2017 drills

The commotion in the Western press regarding the Russian-Belarusian military drills, West 2017, does not get weaker. The media go on reporting on the aggressive nature of the drills. Further references have been made that the number of troops and military vehicles involved in the drills has been intentionally lowered, and that transparency measures are not being duly complied with.

The joint strategic drills of Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, West 2017, are of exceptionally defensive nature.

The total number of troops and vehicles does not exceed a level which is subject to obligatory supervision over specific types of military activity defined by a document signed in Vienna in 2011. Up to 12,700 soldiers (7,200- from the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, 5,500 – from the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, with around 3,000 of them in the Republic of Belarus), around 70 jets and helicopters, up to 680 machinery units, including approximately 260 tanks, about 200 cannons, multiple rocket launch systems and grenade launchers and up to 10 ships are planned to be involved in the drills. This is far from the numbers which are thrown in by the media regarding the upcoming drills.

We would like to highlight that despite the real number of forces and means involved, the Republic of Belarus has proactively sent invitations to take part in monitoring of the active phase to representatives of international organisations (UN, OSCE, NATO, CIS, CSTO, ICRC), and military-diplomatic corps of foreign countries accredited in the Republic of Belarus and military supervisors from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Sweden and Norway. A corresponding briefing was held at the OSCE Forum. We salute the steps taken by Belarus.

On July 13, 2017, Russian military experts held a similar briefing at NATO’s headquarters. They thoroughly described the tasks that will be accomplished during the drills, the training fields where forces will be deployed and provided information about the manpower and tools that will be involved, including troops and the main armaments and machinery to be utilised.

Additionally, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, jointly with its Belarusian counterparts, plans to hold another briefing regarding this issue by the end of August for representatives of a military-diplomatic corps of foreign countries accredited in the Russian Federation.

The hype around the event is artificial and it has been designed to demonstrate to western society the “justification” of costly measures to deploy an enhanced forward presence and increase NATO’s military activity in Poland and the Baltic countries. We would like to emphasise that these specific actions by the West lead to the rising of military tensions in Europe, and exactly that which the Western brotherhood of “pen and microphones” demonstratively bemoan.


17.03.2018 - Press release on summoning UK Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow to the Russian Foreign Ministry

On March 17, UK Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, where he was handed a note stating that in response to the provocative actions of the British side and groundless accusations against the Russian Federation with regard to the incident in Salisbury, UK on March 4, 2018, the Russian side has taken the following decisions in response. Twenty-three diplomatic staff of the UK Embassy in Moscow are declared persona non grata and are to be expelled from Russia within a week. Taking into account the disparity in the number of the two countries’ consular missions, the Russian Federation recalls its agreement on the opening and operation of the Consulate General of the United Kingdom in St Petersburg. Respective procedures will be followed in accordance with international legal practice. Due to the unregulated status of the British Council in the Russian Federation, its activities are terminated. The British side is warned that in case of further unfriendly actions against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures.

16.03.2018 - Statement by the Foreign Ministry

The decision by the Ukrainian authorities, released on March 16, 2018, not to allow citizens of the Russian Federation to the Embassy and general consulates of Russia on the day of the election of the President of the Russian Federation causes nothing but indignation. Such actions are unprecedented and do not fit into generally accepted ideas about civilised countries. The above steps contradict not only the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations, but also international human rights standards, in particular, the provisions of the 1950 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

14.03.2018 - Embassy Press Secretary comments on the death of Russian citizen Nikolay Glushkov and the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal

Q: Can you comment on the mysterious death of the Russian citizen Nikolay Glushkov in London? A: Regretfully, the Embassy has received no information whatsoever regarding the circumstances of the death of Mr Glushkov. The investigation is not transparent, the British side appears not inclined to cooperate. This can only cause regret. Today the Embassy made an official request to provide all the information in possession of the British side regarding this Russian citizen whose death, as you said, appears mysterious. Overall, we are surprised with UK authorities’ reluctance and unwillingness to provide us with full details of both the poisoning of Russians Sergei and Yulia Skripal and the death of Nikolay Glushkov.

14.03.2018 - Statement by the Foreign Ministry

The March 14 statement made by British Prime Minister Theresa May in Parliament on measures to “punish” Russia, under the false pretext of its alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter, constitutes an unprecedented, flagrant provocation that undermines the foundations of normal dialogue between our countries.

14.03.2018 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on US threats to launch military strikes at Syria

During the discussion of Resolution 2401 on the ceasefire and the humanitarian pause in Syria in the UN Security Council on March 12, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley implied that the US might launch military strikes at Syria similar to last April when such actions were based on unfounded unilateral US accusations of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government. Russia and Syria were also accused of violating the ceasefire and causing the suffering of civilians, primarily in East Ghouta.

14.03.2018 - Statement of the Russian Embassy

On 14 of March Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko was summoned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where he was informed that 23 diplomats were declared personae non gratae. We consider this hostile action as totally unacceptable, unjustified and shortsighted. All the responsibility for the deterioration of the Russia-UK relationship lies with the current political leadership of Britain.

13.03.2018 - Statement by Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OPCW, Ambassador Alexander Shulgin, at the 87th session of the OPCW Executive Council on the chemical incident in Salisbury, The Hague, March 13, 2018

Mr Chairperson, In connection with the vicious attacks launched by British officials in London, as well as the statement by the head of the British delegation to the OPCW with regard to Russia concerning the suspicious story of two persons poisoned with a toxic agent in Salisbury, we would like to state the following. The British authorities’ unfounded accusations of Russia’s alleged involvement in using poisonous agents on their territory are absolutely unacceptable. Our British colleagues should recall that Russia and the United Kingdom are members of the OPCW which is one of the most successful and effective disarmament and non-proliferation mechanisms. We call upon them to abandon the language of ultimatums and threats and return to the legal framework of the chemical convention, which makes it possible to resolve this kind of situation.

13.03.2018 - Press release on summoning the UK Ambassador to the Russian Foreign Ministry

On March 13, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Russia Laurence Bristow was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, where First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov strongly protested the evidence-free accusations by the UK authorities of Russia’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. It was stated that the actions of the UK authorities are a clear provocation and that the Russian Federation was not involved in the incident that took place in Salisbury on March 4, 2018. From the Russian side, it was emphasised that Moscow will not respond to London’s ultimatum until it receives samples of the chemical substance to which the UK investigators are referring and until the UK demonstrates compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention that stipulates a joint investigation into the incident, for which Moscow is ready. Without that, there can be no sense in any statements from London. The incident appears to be yet another crooked attempt by the UK authorities to discredit Russia. Any threat to take “punitive” measures against Russia will meet with a response. The British side should be aware of that.

13.03.2018 - Press Secretary responds to media question

Q: Can you comment on yesterday’s threats of cyber attacks against Russia? A: Statements by a number of MPs, “Whitehall sources” and “experts” regarding a possible “deployment” of “offensive cyber-capabilities” cause serious concern. Not only is Russia groundlessly and provocatively accused of the Salisbury incident, but apparently, plans are being developed in the UK to strike Russia with cyber weapons. Judging by the statements of the Prime Minister, such a decision can be taken at tomorrow’s meeting of the National Security Council. We invite the British side to once again consider the consequences of such a reckless move.

12.03.2018 - Embassy Press secretary responds to BBC question

Q: Has your mission made any contact with the UK authorities over the wellbeing of Sergey and Julia Skripal? A: Literally the next day after the first reports on the poisoning of Mr Skripal and his daughter the Embassy officially requested the Foreign Office to provide information on their health situation and the investigation. This is important to us since his issue has become quite a negative factor for the relations between our countries due to the unfounded accusations against Russia advanced by the media. British officials don’t provide any additional information and don’t distance themselves from the media campaign. The investigation is being concluded in a non-transparent manner, whenever for the Russian side nor for the public. Quite naturally, this is a source of concern.

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