15 October 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

28.11.2017

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the Russian International Affairs Council’s general meeting, Moscow, November 28, 2017

Mr Ivanov, colleagues, friends,

I’m pleased to participate in the Russian International Affairs Council’s general meeting devoted to its performance in 2017. Although the year is not out yet, it is already clear that it was, to put it mildly, by far not the easiest.

Conflicts continue to increase. Constructive interstate cooperation is on the decline, unfortunately. Unipolarity throwbacks raise concerns as one centre of international influence wants to act like a hegemon resorting to fast-track decisions, military blackmail, and brute force in order to promote its goals.

The situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula remains complex. Turbulence in the Middle East persists. Even though a major blow has been dealt to the terrorists who holed up there, we have so far failed to transform the mixed but generally useful experience gained by various stakeholders in forming a global anti-terrorist coalition under the auspices of the UN, the idea of which, as you are well aware, was advanced by President Putin about two years ago.

Given these circumstances, major crises continue to plague Libya, Iraq, and Yemen. Major agreements, which we consider an example of constructive multilateral cooperation, are in jeopardy. I’m referring, in particular, to the Iranian nuclear programme issue. Growing tension in the Persian Gulf not only in relation to Iran, but between the Arab monarchies as well, are of concern to us. The internal political crisis in neighbouring Ukraine has not been settled because of the Kiev authorities’ absolute unwillingness to comply with the Minsk Agreements in the part that concerns them, and the aspirations of Kiev’s Western curators to encourage such a position.

On the plus side, I would like to note the results of the meeting of the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Sochi which took place on November 22, the resumed Geneva talks between the Syrian Government and the opposition groups, and preparations for the Syrian National Dialogue Congress. All of this seeks to promote the political process in Syria in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Russia's strategic interaction with a number of large states, including within BRICS and the SCO, continues to expand. The unification processes and projects in Eurasia actively continue, and major work is being done to harmonise the integration projects.

Overall, we are now going through a stage of mixed trends, which will continue. The world has entered a period of transformation. As one of the geopolitical centres and one the most active international players, Russia actively participates in forming a new, more just and democratic polycentric world order, the formation of which is a fact and a reality. This is a process, which, of course, will last for a long time.

Unfortunately, we are witnessing relentless attempts to reverse this process, which, we believe, are one of the main reasons for today's tensions in international relations.

Given these circumstances, clear understanding of the prospects for global development, and comprehensive understanding of the key trends in international affairs has taken on special significance. RIAC’s contribution to addressing these important tasks is significant, and its activities in 2017 deserve high praise. Much has been done in many different areas.

This is confirmed by objective measures, such as the number of publications and events. I will not list them all. The Council is confidently implementing its primary mission which is to promote Russia’s foreign policy interests.

In this regard, I will note the ever growing role of the Council as a provider of expert support for Russian diplomacy. The traditional international conference on Russia-China relations held in May is a case in point. It is gratifying to know that this successful undertaking has spread to include Russia-India cooperation. I’m referring to the conference, Russia and India:  Strategic Vision of Bilateral Relations and the Changing World Order, which was held in October. I believe it’s important for this conference, just like the events on the Chinese matters, to become traditional for the Council.

I consider it important to continue to expand both the coverage of important international stories as well as the number of foreign partners. Given the current complicated situation, the role of interaction via experts and international affairs pundits in supporting the bilateral dialogue, and keeping our partners updated about our assessments, is growing. Joint research, which is another RIAC’s important area of focus, also contributes to this mission.

It is comforting to know that education remains one of the Council’s key functions, which is implemented in various forms, including summer schools, webinars, lectures, and breakfasts with experts. The updated version of the Council's website launched in May has already become one of the most popular Russian media platforms offering high-quality analytical material on important international topics. Notably, we have attained the level of leading Western websites in this area.

The Ministry values its interaction with the Council. We are proud of the fact that this year Sergey Kislyak, who is present here, became one of its members, and Alexander Kramarenko became its programme director for development.

In general, I believe that the Council, which was established in 2011, has gained a strong form in the second five-year period of its activities. Dynamic and profound changes that the modern world is experiencing, the tasks that all of us who are involved in international relations and Russia’s foreign policy are faced with are becoming more complicated.

I’m confident that the Council will continue to successfully maintain its reputation as the leading domestic think tank providing expert and analytical support for the needs of Russia’s foreign policy.




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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