18 March 2018
Moscow: 00:20
London: 21:20

Consular queries:  
+44 (0) 203 668 7474  




Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with TASS and The Associated Press, New York, September 20, 2017

Question (in English): After your meeting with Secretary Tillerson, how would you evaluate the relationship with the United States? And has Russia given up on hopes of a significant improvement under the Trump administration?

Sergey Lavrov (in English): The relations are at a very difficult and a very low point, which is the legacy of the Obama administration. We certainly noted what President Trump was saying when he was running for president about the relations with Russia and what he continues to say. Basically, that he wants to have good relations with Russia, understanding that this would be in the American interests and the interests of solving quite a number of important and most acute world problems. And what I feel talking to Rex Tillerson is that this is the position of the administration. They are not happy with the current state of relations, and we are not happy at all. And I believe that the understanding is that we have to accept the reality which was created, as I said, by the spiral of unfriendly steps started by the Obama administration, but this reality is with us. And being responsible people, I believe the Russian Government and the US administration should exercise this responsibility in addressing the bilateral links as well as international issues. We are not yet at a point where this would become a sustained trend but understanding of the need to move in this direction is present, in my opinion.

Question: You had two meetings with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right after you arrived in New York and today. Are the parties considering a possible meeting at the top level in the near future, between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, in order to move our relations forward from the point you mentioned?

Sergey Lavrov: The presidents met, as you know, in Hamburg, on the sidelines of the G20 summit. They will have another opportunity to meet if both presidents attend the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in early November in Da Nang, Vietnam.

I am confident that if both leaders are in the same place at the same time, it will be quite useful to have such a meeting and see where we can progress at the foreign ministerial level and in the communication between our deputies. The dialogue continues; it is not an easy one and focuses on bilateral issues that were reviewed by our deputies. It also concerns strategic stability. We met in Helsinki where both parties sent their interdepartmental delegations involving the military and representatives of security services. There are certain problems in this area too that need to be addressed.

Question (in English): Do you feel that the tit-for-tat diplomatic actions are over for now? I am referring to the withdrawal of diplomats.

Sergey Lavrov (in English): We waited very long with our tit in response to Obama’s tat. Well, I think I answered the question about what the mood on both sides is and being serious people and responsible people – and I feel Rex Tillerson is one of them – I hope that we can draw conclusions from where we are now and understand where we want to be.

Question: The issues of Syria, North Korea and the peacemaking mission in Donbass will be discussed during the session. In which areas do you expect to make the biggest progress and maybe even a breakthrough?

Sergey Lavrov: I never have any expectations. All you do every day when there are tasks to solve (and we have them every day, sometimes more than one) is start solving them. You explain your stance, persuade your partners if it concerns developing a resolution. And this is how you progress.

Of course, we want to settle the Ukrainian crisis. But this depends more on the Ukrainian administration rather than on us. You just need to read the Minsk Agreements and this becomes clear.

We want to reach a settlement in Syria and are working hard on this, including combating terrorism and creating conditions to relieve humanitarian problems, achieve reconciliation and establish a national dialogue between the government and the opposition – and eventually, a political settlement that will reflect the interests and hopes of all Syrians.

The same goes for the other areas, be it the conflict in Yemen, the situation in Iraq or the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula. If we say that by the end of the session we will achieve results on this or that issue that we are discussing, this would simply make us slack off.

We need to tackle real problems and conduct negotiations. Each of these conflicts is very complicated, and we must think about what can be done today. We will make plans as the situation in each of these areas is clarified.

Question (in English): What is your opinion of President Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly, particularly, his statement that the US stands ready to totally destroy North Korea?

Sergey Lavrov (in English): We heard the statements from President Trump about North Korea in the same vein many times. We do not doubt that the United States has the capacity to do something very destructive.

But I paid attention to another part of the president’s speech when he said that he respects sovereignty and equality in international affairs, that the United States wants to lead by example and not otherwise, and that the US would not impose its way of life on others and would accept the diversity of the nations, cultures and civilisations. I think it’s a very welcome statement which we haven’t heard from the American leaders for a very long time.

Question (in English): We understand that US Defence Secretary James Mattis said in an interview that the United States would defend Sweden if it came under attack even though Sweden is not a member of NATO.

Sergey Lavrov (in English): Look, I am not a medical doctor, and I cannot address paranoid statements. I heard that the Swedish government is afraid of something, and the German government is keeping its fingers crossed and is thankful to us that one week before the election we have not yet meddled with the election. There are so many fantasies that it’s a waste of time to pay attention to them. It’s fake, and that’s it.


18.03.2018 - Statement by Vassily A. Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, at the Security Council meeting on letter dated 13 March

Statement by Ambassador Vassily A. Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the Security Council meeting on letter dated 13 March 2018 from the Chargén d'affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council

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.

all messages