17 November 2018
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London: 02:46

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258 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     250 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

22.03.2018

Ambassador Yakovenko introductory remarks at the press conference 22 March 2018

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Number 1 rule in Britain is to start any statement with a joke. Unfortunately, it’s not a time to joke. The issue I am going to raise is too serious.

On 5 March 2018 we heard media reports announcing that the day before two Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned in Salisbury. Sergei Skripal is one who has dual citizenship. First of all I would like to wish all the victims, including Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who also suffered from this incident, speedy recovery and well-being.

The Embassy has immediately requested the British authorities to share information about the incident and details of the ongoing investigation.

Unfortunately, 18 days have passed since the day of the incident and we have not received any official information from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or police on the investigation thereof. The British authorities refused to provide samples of the chemical substance. The legitimate consular access to the Russian citizens under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relation has not been granted.

The only response we received from the British authorities was a Note Verbale about medical condition of Yulia Skripal. It did not go further than the official public statements, according to which she was reportedly critically ill, but in a stable condition. The Foreign Office refused to share information on Sergei Skripal, citing his British citizenship.

Therefore, the British Government has violated its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by denying consular access for the Embassy to the Russian citizens. We continue to insist that the access and full information on the condition of our compatriots, whom nobody has seen since 4 March, should be provided.

On 12 March, 8 days after the day of poisoning, I was summoned by Foreign Secretary Johnson, who put forward a 24-hour ultimatum to explain the Russian Government’s position by the end of the next day. The question was put like following: either the incident in Salisbury was a direct act of the Russian Government against the UK or the Russian Government had lost control of a nerve agent that the Foreign Secretary identified as A-234, and allowed it to get into the hands of others.

Next hour Prime Minister May updated the House of Commons about the incident in Salisbury using the same words as Secretary Johnson did at our meeting, except that she introduced the term “Novichok”, a bizarre Russian name to use with regard to a chemical substance, in a clear attempt to additionally and quite artificially link the incident to Russia.

Next day, on 13 March the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave a statement on the incident in Salisbury and strongly protested against evidence-free accusations and provocations by the British authorities. It was emphasized that Russia is not to be talked to in ultimatums, and that in any case we can only properly consider the matter after we receive samples of the chemical substance to which UK is referring to and after the UK complies with the Chemical Weapons Convention that stipulates cooperation between States Parties, for which Moscow is ready. Without that there is no sense in the British statements.

On 14 March the Prime Minister gave another statement on the incident in Salisbury in the House of Commons, where she announced an expulsion of Russian diplomats and other hostile and provocative measures against Russia. She provided no proof of Russia’s alleged involvement in the incident and made a conclusion that, as she put it, it was “highly likely” that Russia was responsible for it. Thus, the British Government again built its official position on pure assumptions.

The Embassy again requested the British authorities to cooperate under the Chemical Weapons Convention on bilateral basis or through the OPCW Executive Council and share information and the samples of the toxic substance. Due to the pressure of the Russian side, the Prime Minister at last sent a letter to the Director-General of the OPCW Technical Secretariat on 14 March and requested assistance in verifying British analysis.

As I understand, the OPCW experts arrived to the UK this Monday. We do not know their mandate. But I hope they will follow all the necessary procedures and principles of the CWC, including ensuring a proper chain of custody of the samples, if there are any. They would also need to check how that was possible that the British authorities managed to designate the nerve agent used as so called “Novichok” and its origin so quickly. Could it mean that it is highly likely that the British authorities already had this nerve agent in their chemical laboratory in Porton Down, which is the largest secret military facility in the UK that has been dealing with chemical weapons? Is it a coincidence that this chemical weapons facility is only 8 miles away from the site of the incident? How did doctors decide what antidotes to administer to the victims? Russian experts were puzzled by how quickly the British authorities managed to designate the nerve agent allegedly used in Salisbury and how this correlates with Scotland Yard's official statements that “the investigation is highly likely to take weeks or even months” to arrive at conclusions.

We are sure that the results of the Technical Secretariat assistance mission should be reported to the OPCW Executive Council.

A few words about lack of cooperation from the British side.

Instead of imposing a 24-hour deadline the UK could and should have referred to paragraph 2 of Article IX of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which requires the State Parties to make every effort to clarify and resolve through exchange of information and consultations any matter which may cause doubt about compliance with the Convention. A State Party which receives a request from another State Party shall provide as soon as possible, but in any case not later than 10 days after the request, information sufficient to answer the doubt or concern. If they requested information from Russia on 12 March, they would have received it by 22 March.

The British side did not send a request to Russia and is not willing to talk to Russian representatives in the Hague, where the OPCW Technical Secretariat is located. Instead an anti-Russian campaign has been launched in the UK.

To make the story short, Britain has, without any evidence, blamed Russia of poisoning of three people and continues to refuse to cooperate. We cannot accept that.

There is another case, which worries us very much. From the British media, and again not from the British authorities, we have learned about the death of the Russian citizen Mr Nikolai Glushkov. The Embassy has also learned from the press that the police investigating Mr Glushkov’s death assumes that he could have died from “compression on the neck”, suggesting he was strangled.

In full accordance with the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Embassy immediately requested by a Note Verbale full information on the circumstances of the death of the Russian national and on the investigation, but has not received any meaningful response from the Foreign Office so far. Moreover, it seems that the British side is deliberately ignoring our requests and continues to avoid any contacts with the Embassy on this matter.

To summarize what have been said before a Q/A session, I would like to say that the burden of proof lies with the British authorities. By now no facts have been officially presented either to the OPCW, or to us, or to UK’s partners, or to the public.

We can’t take British words for granted.

The UK has a bad record of violating international law and misleading the international community, which includes invading Yugoslavia (78 days of bombardment), Iraq and Libya under false pretexts, and supporting the coup d’état in Ukraine. I would like to quote President Ronald Reagan, who frequently referred to the Russian proverb “trust but verify”.

History shows that British statements must be verified.

We demand full transparency of the investigation and full cooperation with Russia and with the OPCW.

 




LATEST EVENTS

13.11.2018 - Embassy’s statement concerning Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London

We have taken note of Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London on 12 November, of which a significant part was dedicated to Russia. Unfortunately, we did not hear any “new approach” to Russian-British bilateral relations, mentioned in the British media a day before. A number of unsubstantiated accusations against Russia were again put forward by the Prime Minister, ranging from “attacks to undermine international security” to the “use of a chemical weapon on British streets”. The statement that the UK “remains open to a different relationship with Russia” was, in line with the traditional British style, made conditional on a number of categorical demands. For our part, we have been pointing at the unsatisfactory state of bilateral affairs for a long time. Russia and Britain are in an urgent need of genuinely equal, mutually respectful and result-oriented cooperation, befitting two Permanent Members of the UN Security Council sharing a special responsibility for global affairs.


06.11.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning new claims on alleged links between members of the Russian community in the UK and intelligence services

Question: How would you comment on the claims in the British media that “half of the Russians in London are working for Russian intelligence”? Answer: Those publications are based on a report by “Henry Jackson Society”, an organisation that does not hide its anti-Russian position. But even this superficial and irresponsible report has been distorted by the media affiliated with the current Conservative government for the sake of sensation and a further increase of Russophobic sentiment in the British society. A non-committal phrase – “Reflecting the level of paranoia within London’s Russian community, interviewees and interlocutors suggested that anywhere between a quarter and a half of Russian expats were, or have been, informants” has been transformed by the media into a categorical statement: “The study said there were as many as 75000 Russian informants in London”.


01.11.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning “An Invisible Chain” speech by the UK Foreign Secretary

Q: In his speech at the “Policy Exchange” think tank UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has dwelled on the shifts in the global balance of power. Do you agree with his assessment? A: We believe Mr Hunt’s view on the trends in global development is right in principle. The centre of the economic power shifts to the East, the BRICS countries as well as a lot of Asian economies are on the rise, and with economic power comes greater political influence. The speech reflects growing awareness in the UK political classes that the place and role of the West in the shaping of the international order is in decline. The world is changing rapidly, and the UK will have to adapt to the new reality.


01.11.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the statement by UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations Karen Pierce on Ukraine

Q.: At the UN Security Council Briefing on 30 October UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations Karen Pierce claimed general elections in the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic to be illegitimate and a clear breach of the Minsk Agreements. How would you comment on this statement? A.: The elections in the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic scheduled for November 11 are held to fill the power vacuum after the assassination of Alexander Zakharchenko, which cast suspicion on Ukrainian destabilizing activities in the east. This murder must not result in a halt to daily life in the region, people in Donbass need to carry on with their lives, making ends meet under constant blockade and the threat of the use of force from Kiev. The proposed elections have no bearing on the Minsk agreements, which pertain to municipal elections.


31.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the statements by Prime Minister Theresa May in Norway

Q.: On 30 October UK Prime Minister again claimed that Russia “deployed chemical weapons” in Britain. How would you comment on this statement? A.: We strongly reject these insinuations. Another portion of accusations of Russia is a far cry from reality.


29.10.2018 - Joint Statement by China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States

We, the nuclear weapon States recognized by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, reaffirm our commitment to the Treaty, in all its aspects, fifty years since its signature.


28.10.2018 - Joint Statement by the Presidents of the Republic of Turkey, the French Republic, the Russian Federation and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

President of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the French Republic H.E. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Russian Federation H.E. Vladimir Putin, and Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany H.E. Angela Merkel gathered in Istanbul on 27 October 2018 for a Quadrilateral Summit on Syria.


26.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning publications on cyberattacks

Question: Recently there have been numerous publications in British media regarding alleged Russian hacker attacks against the UK infrastructure. Has the Embassy received any evidence from British officials on this? Answer: The Embassy has not received any official evidence from the British side on either of these publications. We believe this clearly shows that there is nothing behind them.


25.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the investigation of the death of Nikolay Glushkov

Question: Does the Embassy have any new information regarding circumstances of the death of the Russian citizen Nikolay Glushkov in London on 12 March? Answer: Unfortunately, we have to state once again that the British side evades any sort of cooperation with Russia with regard to the investigation of Mr Glushkov’s death.


22.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning comparisons in Britain between Russian and Saudi Arabia’s reactions to high-profile incidents

Question: After the reports concerning the death of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the British media have been drawing parallels between the actions of Saudi Arabia and Russia. Are there any good reasons for such comparisons? Answer: We have already stated that we would not be commenting idle talks. It is for journalists, not diplomats, to speculate on this kind of issues. However, we have taken note of yet another article by Boris Johnson in “The Daily Telegraph”, where he compares the death of Jamal Khashoggi to the so-called poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury. In particular, he insists that Saudi Arabia and Turkey should – and rightly so – provide the public with as much information as possible concerning the exact causes of the journalist’s death.



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