18 March 2018
Moscow: 18:44
London: 15:44

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Consul General Andrey Pritsepov answers Edinburgh Evening News questions about situation in Eastern Ghouta

  1. 1.     Do you have any response to the protestors? 

Answer: We all at the Russian Consulate General are gravely concerned with the current situation in Syria and especially in Eastern Ghouta where acute humanitarian crisis unfolds.

We sympathizes with the protesters though many of them seem to get their information from the same unreliable and biased sources that are trying to influence Western public opinion each time Syrian Government forces make advance.

The root of the current situation in Eastern Ghouta is not in the operations by the Government forces. Tensions were caused by a consolidation in east Ghouta of the remains of five terrorist groupings (incl. Jabhat al-Nusra, Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham, The al-Rahman Legion (Faylaq al-Rahman), Fajr Al-Ummah) which formed the united command center and joined their activities. As in other places like Raqqa and Aleppo they use civilians as human shield.  Terrorists are actively shelling Damascus (83 explosions only yesterday), causing wide spread civilian fatalities and damage to hospitals and official venues (Russian Trade mission and De-escalation Center took direct hits).


  1. 2.     Does the Russian government encourage President Assad to implement the UN calls for ceasefire? 

Answer: Russia has been consistently advocating all UN Security resolutions on Syria including Resolution 2254 (2015), Endorsing Road Map for Peace Process in Syria and a new one – just adopted Resolution 2401 on 30-day Cessation of Hostilities in Syria to Enable Humanitarian Aid Delivery.
UNSCR 2401 appeal to all the interested parties (not just Damascus and Moscow, but Washington, London and others) to respect cessation of hostilities. The fight against the terrorists, who are trying to stop peaceful population from leaving the area, is exempt from it. From tomorrow Russia is establishing humanitarian ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta running from 09.00 until 14.00 local time daily and is forming humanitarian corridors to let civilians flee.


  1. 3.     Any message for Russian nationals in Scotland who are concerned about the events in East Ghouta? 

Answer: I believe that Russian nationals based in Scotland have wider access to various sources of information than a general public here for a simple reason of knowing at least two languages, so they have all opportunities to build their own opinion about the issue. However if any of them would like to get an official comment from us, they are free to do so.


  1. 4.     The SNP foreign affairs spokesperson has just given me this comment: “The dreadful pictures coming out of East Ghouta demonstrate the appalling consequences of Russian and Syrian Government bombing on the civilian population caught there. This bombing must end now and the Russian authorities must act and allow humanitarian relief into the area as soon as possible.” Do you have any response to the MP?


Answer: We share concern about the grave situation in Eastern Ghouta, but categorically object to these groundless and over simplified conclusions. Appalling double standards shown to the fates of suffering civilians in Damascus and Eastern Ghouta, to the dreadful atrocities in Mosul and Raqqa (where no chances for a ceasefire were given resulting in huge casualties among the innocent people), are beyond criticism.


Publication in Edinburgh Evening News


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.

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