17 March 2018
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Statement of the Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Oleg Khramov at the international OSCE conference on cybersecurity, Vienna, 3 November 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is absolutely clear that in the foreseeable future global informatization will be the key trend in the development of society.

Under such conditions, security in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) becomes one of the major items on the international agenda, the topic to consolidate the international community.

However, today there are controversies between participants of the discussion regarding the basic principles upon which the system of international information security is to be built.

A number of countries proceed from the assumption that information space has already become a battleground. Thus, their suggestion is to focus one's efforts on regulating inevitable - as they believe - military and political conflicts implying the use of ICT, while it is stated that the regulation mechanisms are to be based on unconditional applicability of existing norms of the international law, the norms that were developed in the «рrе-digital age».

Taking into consideration that in reality it is impossible to reliably determine a source of computer attacks, we believe that such an approach in fact legitimatizes the possibility to carry out not only informational but military operations against «unfavourable» States.

The other approach, the one that Russia is adhering to, is based on non- admission of information space militarization and on non-interference in the internal affairs of other States. On unconditional recognition of «digital» sovereignty of States.

We believe that it is unacceptable to resort to unfounded accusations of having carried out computer attacks while using the accusations as a tool in order to exert political pressure.

We proceed from the fact that, despite differences between the approaches, all of us are united by a common goal that is prevention of conflicts in the information field.

To this end after twenty years of collaborative work, the major step should be finally taken. That means that additional legal norms should be specified, the norms that take into account unique characteristics of modem information technologies. At the same time, discussion of issues of military and political application of ICT should be held at the top expert level.

We are convinced that there can be no alternative to the United Nations as a representative platform for it. The UN Group of Governmental Experts on

International Information Security, that united representatives of 25 countries, studied the issues of application of international law to ICT-usage by the States, including norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour of States.

Unfortunately, the group failed to reach consensus while preparing the final report. However, it should not halt the discussion on the key issues of the international information security or - even worse - be used as a pretext to devaluate the UN role and to switch to discussing the issues at the regional level or even on bilateral basis.

Without a doubt, such formats of cooperation constitute an important part of the architecture of the international information security. However, global issues, that involve the interests of almost all countries of the world, should be discussed systematically only under the aegis of the United Nations.

The rules of responsible behaviour should lay the groundwork for the mechanism of their implementation. We believe that it is necessary to continue this work finalizing it by jointly adopting the rules in the form of the UN General Assembly resolution.

One of the basic tools for ensuring international information security are confidence-building measures, adopted within the framework of the OSCE. Confidence-building measures are designed to reduce the risks of conflicts stemming from the use of information and communication technologies. We believe that the efficiency of this mechanism should be improved, thus strengthening the role of OSCE in settling information incidents.

Currently there is only one platform for discussion of the ICT security- related issues in the Organisation. This is the Informal Working Group, established by the OSCE Permanent Council Decision 1039.

We believe that the following procedural factors hinder the efficiency of its work:

Firstly, the Group ranks as an informal one, what significantly reduces its political authority.

Secondly, the Group lacks a clear working procedure. It meets on the initiative of the Chairperson on the irregular basis. Agenda of the Group's meeting includes a great number of items with not enough time to discuss them.

Thirdly, the Group's mandate is limited and does not include the aspects of ensuring ICT-security, which are considered by the OSCE Secretariat and other non-specialized structures. It narrows the scope of issues discussed in the interstate format and reduces the efficiency of the OSCE as such.

Moreover, the Informal Working Group has in fact exhausted its mandate after having finalized the development of the list of confidence-building measures to reduce the risks of conflicts stemming from the use of ICT and the adoption in 2016 of the OSCE Ministerial Council Decision 5/16 titled The OSCE Efforts Related to Reducing the Risks of Conflicts Stemming from the Use of ICT.

In 2016, Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, at the meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council presented The Peaceful Cyberplan for OSCE, taking into consideration constructive ideas earlier voiced by other member-states of the Organisation,

The Plan envisaged the following:

- consider strengthening the role of the OSCE in peaceful settlement of incidents in the field related to the ICT-use as well as in preventing conflict situations from developing into a full-fledged confrontation;

- hold under the auspices of the OSCE an inclusive international conference on the most acute issues of ensuring information security;

- grant an official status in the OSCE's framework to the Informal Working Group on Developing Confidence-building Measures in Information Space;

- consider and work through the issue of establishing a special subdivision within the OSCE Secretariat on the problems related to ensuring international information security.

Our proposal to this end is to start an OSCE discussion on improving the Organisation's efficiency in ensuring international information security as early as in 2018.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasise that the high level of holding this conference, its timely character and meaningfulness, as well as of the one held in Vienna in February 2017, both under the Austrian chairmanship, make it possible to say that one of the items of the above mentioned plan is already being implemented.

Thank you for your attention



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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