25 October 2020
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966 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     958 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Ambassador Yakovenko’s response to a question of the International Affairs magazine

Question: The Embassy’s Press officer informs that you have requested a meeting with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. What are you planning to discuss?

Answer: More than a month has passed since the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury. In the absence of any evidence presented publicly, Prime Minister Theresa May blamed Russia on the basis of some classified intelligence.

For over a month, we have had no information about Scotland Yard’s ongoing investigation. It is unprecedented given the nature of the accusations against Russia. As we understand, this classified information must be transformed into public evidence and we will, of course, study and check it.

In this context, the United Kingdom faces a number of challenges. Unfounded accusations against Russia and the cessation of high-level political contacts have seriously complicated Russian-British relationship. Hard evidence pending, Britain’s image has been severely damaged in the eyes of the Russian people.

The second issue would be the international image of the UK. London has got its Western allies into trouble. Out of solidarity and US strong backing, Britain mobilized them to make hostile steps towards Russia providing no proof whatsoever. Time goes by and now these governments have to explain themselves to the public. First questions have already been asked.

The third challenge is at international organizations. The matter now will be addressed on a regular basis by the UN Security Council at the political level and by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at the technical level. This means that Britain’s unfounded claims have grown from a bilateral issue into a huge international problem. Moreover, London has taken it to the level of the relationship between the West and the East. Let me clarify. Even though as few as 15 votes of Western states have been enough to block Russia-China-Iran’s draft decision of the OPCW Executive Council that sought an active international cooperation on the Salisbury incident, 23 states of the Executive Council out of 41 refused to associate themselves with the West’s unconstructive position. These comprise all the Latin American and African members and all but two Asian Executive Council Member States.

To sum up both on the bilateral and multilateral levels, the Conservative Government bluntly refuses to cooperate, while conducting an investigation in a way that is not transparent either for the international community or its own public.

Purely out of professional interest I wonder how long the British political system can sustain such pressure.

As for Russia, we have to be informed about the investigation. Let us remember that Sergei and Yulia Skripal are Russian citizens and their health and well-being matter to us. I would also note that Russia has initiated a criminal investigation into the attempted murder.

I should remind that Russia has officially stated that it has nothing to do with the poisoning of the Skripals and, in view of the secrecy, the burden of proof lies with the British authorities. For this reason, I would like to hear Foreign Secretary’s assessment of the resulting situation in our bilateral relations.

What the British authorities are going to do when, according to Scotland Yard, the investigation might take months? It will not be possible to classify all the case files, as it was with the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

And, on the ground of sheer human sympathy, I wish to know why the United Kingdom refused an entry visa to Viktoria Skripal, who is worried about her cousin and uncle and would like to come to see them? I fail to understand such a refusal, especially since, according to the British authorities, they both have got better.

The biggest challenge for the UK now for the weeks and months to come is transparency of the investigation. For this reason, we have to have a meeting. My conversations with Foreign Secretary Johnson, and there have been many, indicate that he is open to logical arguments and discussion, ready to listen to differing opinions and cares about his country’s reputation.

I think now is just the right time that we discuss all the matters of mutual concern.


16.10.2020 - Embassy comment to The Times newspaper on disinformation allegations

The suggestion that the Russian State may conduct any kind of propaganda against the AstraZeneca vaccine is itself an example of disinformation. It is obviously aimed at discrediting Russia’s efforts in combating the pandemic, including the good cooperation we have established with the UK in this field.

06.10.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin holds online meeting with members of Russia APPG

On 5 October 2020 Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin held an online meeting with members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia. Members of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons, representing all major political parties of the country, took part in the conversation.

03.10.2020 - Joint Statement by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh, Moscow, Paris, Washington, D.C., October 2, 2020

The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stéphane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America) released the following statement today: The Co-Chairs strongly condemn the continued violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone as well as against targets in the territory of Armenia and Azerbaijan away from the Line of Contact, and express our alarm at reports of increasing civilian casualties. Targeting or threatening civilians is never acceptable under any circumstances. The Co-Chairs call on the sides to observe fully their international obligations to protect civilian populations.

02.10.2020 - Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the EU’s restrictions on Belarus

We noted the EU’s October 2 decision to adopt new restrictive measures as regards Belarus. A comment declaring response measures has already been released by Belarusian officials. We see that instead of displaying restraint, which is so vital for stabilisation in Belarus, the European Union has once again resorted to the instrument of sanctions. This approach is unilateral and illegal. It undermines the prerogatives of the UN Security Council and leads to the further erosion of international law.

02.10.2020 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on statements by Permanent Representative of the United States to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva Robert Wood on Russia’s initiatives to prevent an arms race in space

There is growing concern regarding the professional credentials of Permanent Representative of the United States to the Conference on Disarmament Robert Wood. On October 1, 2020, during a briefing hosted by the Foreign Press Association at the United Nations Office in Geneva he said that he did not know what Russia’s initiatives to prevent an arms race in outer space were about. As a reminder, for 40 years Russia (and earlier the USSR) has consistently advocated the drafting of a multilateral legally binding instrument that would prohibit the deployment of weapons of any kind, as well as the use or threat of force in outer space.

29.09.2020 - Ushakov Medal presented to the Arctic Convoys Veteran

On 26 September 2020 Third Secretary of the Embassy Vadim Retyunskiy presented the Ushakov medal to the Arctic Convoys veteran Mr William Geoffrey ROBINSON who was awarded this military honour by Decree of the President of the Russian Federation for his personal courage and bravery displayed in WWII.

26.09.2020 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on discrepancies and inconsistencies in the situation around Alexey Navalny

The Russian Federation has been acting in the most transparent manner in the situation around Mr. Alexey Navalny from the very beginning. At the request of relatives, he was promptly granted permission to travel to Germany for medical treatment, which he did without hindrance, once the doctors at the Omsk hospital managed to stabilize his condition. Moreover, Russian doctors passed on to their German colleagues the data they had collected on the patient's health condition and were ready to continue to work together for the sake of his speedy recovery.

26.09.2020 - Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, on a comprehensive program of measures for restoring the Russia – US cooperation in the filed of international information security

One of today’s major strategic challenges is the risk of a large-scale confrontation in the digital field. A special responsibility for its prevention lies on the key players in the field of ensuring international information security (IIS). In this regard, we would like to once again address the US with a suggestion to agree on a comprehensive program of practical measures to reboot our relations in the field of security in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

11.09.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin presents former President of WorldSkills International Mr Simon Bartley with a Certificate of Commendation from the Government of the Russian Federation

On 10 September 2020, Russian Ambassador Andrei Kelin hosted the former President of WorldSkills International Mr Simon Bartley at his residence to present him with a Certificate of Commendation from the Government of the Russian Federation awarded for his outstanding work in promoting the WorldSkills Russia movement.

07.09.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin meets with Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Director General Thomas Drew

On 7 September 2020, Russian Ambassador Andrei Kelin and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Director General Thomas Drew discussed the situation regarding the hospitalisation of Alexei Navalny. The British side has called for an investigation of the case. The Ambassador stressed that voicing unsubstantiated accusations and politicising an essentially medical and legal matter was unacceptable.

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