23 May 2018
Moscow: 06:28
London: 04:28

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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

11.05.2018

Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a question concerning the situation with consular access to Sergei and Yulia Skripal

Q. Russia has on numerous occasions accused the UK of violating consular conventions as regards access to the Russian nationals Sergei and Yulia Skripal. How does this correlate with the need to obtain their consent for such communication while, according to the British authorities, the Skripals do not want to speak to the Russian representatives?

A. The British side has informed us that Yulia Skripal is allegedly unwilling to communicate with the Embassy. It has refused consular access to Sergei Skripal citing his British citizenship. The British authorities claim that Russian nationals must absolutely provide their consent to communicate with consular officers.

We cannot accept such position. In Russia-UK bilateral relations, any communication between citizens and consular officers is regulated by the Consular Convention between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of 1965. According to its Article 36, “a consular officer shall be entitled within the consular district to communicate with, interview and advise a national of the sending State and may render him every assistance”. As one may see, Article 36 does not contain any reference to the requirement of a person’s consent for a consular visit.

In other terms, such communication is not just a right of a person, but also a right of a consular officer and, thus, a right of the sending State. This right of Russia is being grossly violated by the UK.

Such wording of the Convention is not accidental. A State violating the rights of a foreign national could have easily referred to his/her reluctance to seek protection by a consular officer. The authors of this agreement rightly determined that such reference cannot justify the refusal for communication between a citizen and a consul. The situation with Sergei and Yulia Skripal is a fine example of relevance of such logic of the Convention.

Article 36 also states that “in any case where a national of the sending state has been arrested or is held under any other form of detention… the consular officer shall have the right to visit and to communicate with him without delay”. In accordance with the official comments of the UN International Law Commission, this provision “applies also to other forms of detention (quarantine, detention in a mental institution)”. As the British authorities conceal Yulia Skripal from the public and make official statements on her behalf, such situation is obviously covered by this article.

As for the reference of the British authorities to Sergei Skripal’s British citizenship, it is also unacceptable for us, and that for the following reason. In accordance with Article 30 of the bilateral Consular Convention, “the term “national” shall mean any person whom the sending State recognises as its national”. Sergei Skripal was not stripped of his Russian citizenship (this is prohibited by the Russian Constitution) and did not withdraw from it voluntarily. He remains a Russian national and enjoys full right to communicate with Russian consular officers, and Russia enjoys full right to communicate with him as well. As we understand, the UK follows the same approach in its discussions on consular cases with dual citizens, for example in Iran.

Of course, we do not intend to impose our assistance to our citizens. They are free people. But, considering all circumstances, it is important for us to get assured of their well-being. We are not satisfied with the statements of the British officials that Yulia Skripal does not want to communicate with us. How can we be sure that she has genuinely expressed such will?

We intend to continue to demand an opportunity to communicate with the Skripals in person. If they don’t require our assistance, they can inform us directly. But if the British authorities continue to refuse to facilitate such a meeting, it will mean that the Skripals either have been forcibly isolated, or their condition is different from the one described in official statements.

On 10 May 2018 these positions were conveyed by the Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Dr Alexander Yakovenko, during his meeting with Director General, Consular and Security at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Philip Barton.




LATEST EVENTS

21.05.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning a new report on Russia by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee

Q: Today the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee published a report “Moscow’s Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK”. How would you comment on that? A: We are carefully studying this report and its recommendations. Meanwhile, one cannot help but notice at first sight that it is another anti-Russian undertaking by the parliamentary committee aimed at supporting the UK claims to play a leading role in the Western bloc to “deter Russia”. The 2015 National Security Strategy, Prime Minister’s Banquet Speech in November 2017, unsubstantiated accusations against Russia of poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the “fusion doctrine” outlined on 1 May by National Security Adviser Sir Mark Sedwill are all integral parts of the reckless policy of UK political leadership against Russia.


21.05.2018 - Embassy’s press Secretary answers media question on the detention of the journalist Kirill Vyshinsky in Ukraine

Q: How did UK authorities react to the detention of “RIA Novosti Ukraine” journalist Kirill Vyshinsky in Kiev on 15 May? A: The reporter’s detention by the Ukrainian authorities caused worldwide outrage. It was condemned by a number of countries, international organizations and journalists’ professional bodies, including the UK National Union of Journalists. Regretfully, the UK Government, which so often calls on Russia and other countries to respect freedom of speech, has preferred to keep silent on this case.


18.05.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question about Sergei Skripal’s discharge from the hospital

Question: According to the recent reports, Sergei Skripal was discharged this morning from the hospital in Salisbury. How could you comment on that? Answer: We are satisfied that the treatment Sergei Skripal received was successful and he is well enough to leave the hospital. We wish him full recovery.


18.05.2018 - President of Syria Bashar al-Assad made a working visit to Russia

Vladimir Putin held talks with President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad in Sochi.


16.05.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a question concerning Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan’s statement on the opening of the Crimea Bridge

Q: Yesterday Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan made a statement, in which he criticized the opening of the Crimea Bridge, accused Russia of the “annexation of the Crimea” and expressed concerns over the alleged human rights violations on the peninsula. How can you comment on that? A: Unfortunately, we have to state that the British political establishment continues to deny current international realities.


15.05.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a question concerning Sergei Skripal’s cooperation with Czech and Estonian intelligence services

Q: How would you comment on today’s British media reports on Sergei Skripal’s cooperation with Czech and Estonian intelligence services? A: Obviously, in the absence of any evidence of Russia’s involvement in Sergei and Yulia Skripal’s poisoning, UK special services are desperately trying to find a “motive” that could explain Moscow’s alleged guilt.


15.05.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko met with members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia

On May 14, Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko met with members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia. They discussed the preparation for the upcoming World Cup in Russia, including the modalities of Russia’s cooperation with the United Kingdom. The Ambassador informed MPs that Russia is ready for the World Cup. On the Salisbury incident, Alexander Yakovenko brought to the attentions of MPs Russia’s position on this case and called upon the British government to hold a transparent investigation.


14.05.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a question concerning violations of rights of Sergei and Yulia Skripal by the British authorities

Q. Does Russia plan to use international legal mechanisms to hold the UK responsible for violations of rights of Sergei and Yulia Skripal? A. Currently it’s too early to speak of specific steps that Russia could take. It is clear though that the UK continues to blatantly violate the rights of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who might be forcibly detained on its territory, in addition to violations of Russia’s right to communicate with them in accordance with Article 36 of the bilateral Consular convention. In particular, the actions of the British authorities raise serious questions as regards to observance of the following rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950:


14.05.2018 - Attention Russian citizens!

The Russian Embassy in London has been informed of unmotivated stops and interrogations of Russian citizens, who legally arrive to Great Britain having UK visas, by the UK Border Force and police.


14.05.2018 - Embassy Press Officer replies to a media question regarding the statement by MI5 Director General

Question: What is your response to today’s Berlin speech by MI5 Director General Andrew Parker who called Russia a “pariah” over its “aggressive and pernicious” activities? Answer: The British government is rallying new participants into its anti-Russian campaign. The respective statements by the political leadership have been followed by National Security Adviser Sir Mark Sedwill, a number of high-ranking military officers, and now by Mr Parker.



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