18 October 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

20.09.2017

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.




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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