17 July 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

24.10.2017

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko met Lord Mayor of the City of London Dr Andrew Parmley

On 20 October Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko met Lord Mayor of the City of London Dr Andrew Parmley. The issues of Russian-British trade and economic relations were discussed. Specifically, the Ambassador briefed the Lord Mayor on the current situation in Russian economy as follows.

Tough challenges, including weak global growth, low energy prices and Western sanctions have been used by the Russian Government to put the economy of our country in order. Difficult, but sound decisions provided macroeconomic stability in Russia, forming the basis for a balanced and sustainable growth. So far, most of the problems have been overcome, and we have adjusted to the new, tougher terms of trade and economic environment, that some call deglobalisation.

The Russian Government has been working hard to minimize negative external effects and to secure structural change of the economy. A well-timed anti-crisis programme was launched and has proved successful. The Government is actively scaling down the dependence on commodities and implementing structural reforms. Russian economic growth in the second quarter of 2017 reached 2.7%, bringing the 1H 2017 figure to 1.5%. This is the beginning of a new trend presenting balanced economic development of our country. The main industry indicators show that Russia will have another record grain harvest this year and thus reclaim the position of the world’s largest wheat exporter. We also witness strong growth in car demand, up 18.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) in this July.

Y-o-y inflation fell to 3.3% at the end of August, down from 4.4% at the end of June, which allowed the central bank to make a 50-bps rate cut at the 15 September policy meeting. The regulator also indicated that it is likely to cut further during the next two quarters. Russian international reserves hit $418 billion at the end of June, their highest level since 2014. This September, Fitch credit agency has upgraded Russia’s sovereign credit rating from "stable" to "positive”, stating that Russia continues to make progress in strengthening its policy framework underpinned by a more flexible exchange rate, strong commitment to inflation targeting and a prudent fiscal strategy, reflected in the recently approved budget rule”. This policy mix, from the Fitch experts’ point of view, “will result in improved macroeconomic stability and, together with robust external and fiscal balance sheets, increases the economy's resilience to shocks”.

Current Russian public debt is low. Obligations for external debt repayment will have decreased from $130 bn in 2015 to $80 bn by the end of 2017. The federal budget deficit remains at safe level and will be financed by loans, which should not exceed the ceiling of 17% of the GDP. That is much lower than in the EU member states. Despite the difficulties, the government is meeting all of its social obligations in full. The unemployment rate stays reasonable.

Over past two years the financial stability of Russian banking system was restored. Its profits grew 5 times over the year. The volume of bad debt saw no increase. Loan portfolio remained stable without marked decrease. Dollarization of the economy (deposits and loans in US dollars) has reached 24%, which is much less than in other emerging markets (in some countries this indicator is 60-70%). Bank of Russia has also announced the launch of the Emergency Liquidity Assistance Mechanism (ELA) to provide emergency support for banks which are not able to get support in the usual way. Strict set of criteria was set for providing any such support.

Overall, the Russian economy is on a trajectory of sustained growth in the coming months making most international economists revise upwards their forecasts up to 2-2.5% growth in 2017. We believe that foreign direct investment will increase substantially. We welcome major foreign companies and investment funds with serious long term interests in investing in the Russian economy, its bond and stock market. The Russian Government is committed to providing every help and support to companies starting or continuing their business in Russia. Current ruble rate makes Russian assets very attractive for purchase. Real sector companies, including agriculture, pharmaceutical, car and other industries will benefit from localising their production in Russia.

We are quite confident that 2018 will drastically improve prospects for the Russian economy, further raising its attractiveness for foreign investors, including those from the UK.

The Ambassador expressed an opinion that in terms of Brexit the UK has a good opportunity to strengthen the economic cooperation and smooth over political contradictions, which are not Russian-caused, between two countries. In addition the Ambassador invited the Lord Mayor to visit Russia.




LATEST EVENTS

16.07.2018 - Russia-US summit

President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of the United States of America Donald Trump have met in Helsinki for their first full-scale summit meeting. Before this, Mr Putin and Mr Trump had met on the sidelines of various international events.


16.07.2018 - News conference following talks between the presidents of Russia and the United States

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, The talks with President of the United States Donald Trump were held in a candid and business-like atmosphere. I think they were quite successful and beneficial. We reviewed the current state and prospects of Russia-US relations and key international issues. It is obvious to everyone that our bilateral relations are undergoing a complicated period but there is no objective reason for these difficulties and the current tense atmosphere.


14.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the new invitation of the OPCW experts to the UK

Question: How would you comment on the recent statement of the FCO concerning the new invitation to the OPCW experts to visit the United Kingdom in the framework of the Amesbury incident investigation? Answer: Following the new invitation extended by the UK to the OPCW technical experts “to independently confirm the identity of the nerve agent”, which Charles Rowley and Dawn Sturgess have been exposed to, we would like remind of the fact that after the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in March Russia proposed to the UK to use the mechanisms under Article IX, paragraph 2 of the CWC and carry out a joint investigation.


14.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning course of investigation of the Amesbury incident

Question: How would you comment on the recent statements that a small bottle containing nerve agent has been found in Amesbury? Answer: Unfortunately, Russia has no access to any official information concerning both the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and other suspicious incidents in the UK, because the British side refuses to cooperate with us in any way possible. We cannot check or verify any British statements. As for this incident, we have to rely only on public statements, and we are almost sure that the British side will not be informing us directly.


11.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the activity of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down

Question: As early as in April the Russian Embassy requested assistance of the British side in arranging a meeting with Chief Executive of the Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Gary Aitkenhead and his colleagues. Have you managed to ascertain whether this secret lab had produced A-234 type agents that were allegedly used against the Skripals? Answer: Sadly, the FCO has ignored our query, which brings us to the conclusion that the British authorities wish to prevent us from communicating with experts who might have some information that is inconvenient for the Conservative government. In his interview to Sky News in April, Mr Aitkenhead himself did not deny the fact that his laboratory had produced and stockpiled nerve agents, including the so-called “novichok”. He added that they “would not be allowed to operate if we had lack of control that could result in anything leaving the four walls of our facility”.


09.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the death of Dawn Sturgess

Q.: How would you comment on the information concerning the death of the British citizen Dawn Sturgess, who, according to the British authorities, was poisoned by the same nerve agent that had been used against Sergei and Yulia Skripal? A.: We would like to express our sincere condolences to relatives and friends of Dawn Sturgess following her tragic death. We hope that the circumstances of her poisoning will be investigated in good faith and in accordance with high international standards, and the perpetrators will be brought to justice. As it stands now, the police investigation of the Skripals case is limited by political frameworks imposed by the current government.


06.07.2018 - From the Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, July 5, 2018

Media coverage of the World Cup in Russia The 2018 FIFA World Cup continues to delight with its exciting football contests. Experts and fans are unanimous is their opinion that the matches have been spectacular. There’s no need to even mention the entertainment aspect of the tournament, as fans are clearly having the time of their lives when there are no matches to watch. According to our guests’ posts on social media, the atmosphere is fantastic not only in Moscow, but other host cities as well. We can see that the enthusiasm of the fans is rubbing off on the media, which is great. Indeed, we focus on these matters, because there was so much misinformation. This is not surprising, as it is difficult to make up stories now, because everyone can see everything with their own eyes, and the mudslinging directed at our country before the World Cup doesn’t work anymore.


05.07.2018 - Embassy press officer’s comment on the statement by Ben Wallace

Q: UK Minister of State for Security at the Home Office Ben Wallace stated that he is “waiting for the phone call from the Russian state” to get explanations of the “use of chemical weapons” in Salisbury. What should he expect? A: The Russian Ambassador to the UK is ready to meet Mr Wallace – we have requested meetings at the Home Office and Metropolitan Police several times, in relation to the Skripals case, as well as the murder of the Russian citizen Nikolay Glushkov. In both cases the FCO had suggested the Embassy should contact the police directly. Yet our letters to Scotland Yard met a resounding silence. If the British law enforcement authorities wish to end this silence and finally engaged in a substantial dialogue with Russia as envisaged in the international agreements signed by UK, we will be happy to have the opportunity to ask the many outstanding questions. We await Mr Wallace’s specific proposals as to when he will be available to meet.


05.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a question on the "Russian disinformation campaign" in the context of the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents

Q: Home secretary Sajid Javid has stated in Parliament that the Russian media are already producing multiple explanations of the incident in Amesbury and that a new disinformation campaign should be expected from the Kremlin. How could you comment on this? A: It is not the first time that British officials are speculating on “disinformation” and “numerous versions” produced by the Russian “pro-government media” regarding the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury and now of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley in Amesbury. The Foreign Office has even provided us with the list of 28 “official Russian versions” of the Salisbury incident, among which, for example, they cited the following: “the UK poisoned Ivan the Terrible” and “the operation in Eastern Ghouta is aimed at freeing civilians from terrorists”.


05.07.2018 - Embassy press officer on UK reaction to the Amesbury incident

Q: Can you comment on statements by Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Security Minister Ben Wallace that Russia refuses to cooperate over the Salisbury poisoning and that after the Amesbury incident the Russian state must “come and tell us what happened in Salisbury to keep people safe”? A: All allegations of Russia’s involvement in the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury are merely speculative and are not based on objective data of the investigation. As for the cooperation and information sharing, Russia has from the very outset proposed a joint investigation of the attempted murder of two Russian nationals. The proposal remains on the table. Unfortunately, the British investigation remains totally non-transparent. Our numerous questions on this matter remain unanswered. The UK authorities avoid any contact with the Russian side on this, or any other issues of concern. Moreover, London continues to blatantly violate its international obligations by refusing consular access to the Russian citizens, who remain isolated and are highly likely under duress by secrets service.



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