21 August 2018
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Letter to the Editor of The Washington Post by Mr. Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN

Dear Mr. Baron, 

I have to address you with regard to the article entitled “A dispatch from the fight against Russian disinformation – and a place where truth is winning” by Mr. Philip Bump, published  in “The Washington Post” on 25 July 2018, which mentions me personally in the context of a very sensible topic for us – investigation of 2014 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash in Ukraine.

I would like to stress that I am writing this letter in my personal capacity and I am not directly involved in relevant investigative efforts on our side. But even the information that is available in open sources which could be traced by any researcher allows me to make the conclusions that I make.

I would not conceal that I was very much disappointed by this publication which clearly does not meet the standards of an unbiased journalist report. Its main message is to illustrate alleged “Russian efforts to undercut findings” of “independent investigators” and “propaganda efforts of Russian government” in general. Needless to say that the article proceeds from the assumption that Russia was behind the downing of MH17 and all our efforts are aimed just at covering up the culprits.

I completely disagree with such a narrative and want to clarify several key points in this regard.

Since the very beginning Russia was and continues to be genuinely interested in discovering the truth about this tragic event. We supported all the efforts to conduct full and transparent investigation, we exercised our influence on Donbass rebels who, despite very difficult combat situation caused by the Ukrainian authorities’ obsession to punish their own citizens by military force for their desire to preserve their language and culture, provided unhindered and full access to the crash site. All those who wanted to visit it had the opportunity to do so. Every material evidence was also gathered and transported to the Netherlands for the needs of investigation.

We from our side provided a lot of information and material to the investigation team, in particular primary radar data. Upon its request Russia disclosed classified information on Buk missiles 9M38 and 9M38M1. Our producer of this ammunition “Almaz-Antey” also modeled the incident and widely shared technical data and the conclusions of this simulation. The Dutch side is also aware of a lot of witness accounts of people living in this area. We expressed and continue to express our readiness to join the group of investigators.

Nevertheless, the Dutch investigators since the very beginning showed particular distrust to our findings and contribution. Russian experts were excluded from their work. Much of the data that we provided was ignored and disregarded in the reports. The trend was very clear – to ignore everything that exposed Ukrainian responsibility for the downing of MH17 and to encourage every claim, be it undocumented or even absurd, that Russia or “Russian-backed rebels” were behind it. It is enough to indicate that the investigators do not press the US to provide satellite data from the day and the site of the crush (Americans publicly confirmed that they possess such data, but it is “classified”) and accept the refusal of Ukraine to provide primary radar data under laughable pretext. Refusal of Ukrainian authorities to close the airspace over the Eastern part of the country at the day of the crash despite ongoing military operation of Ukrainian forces there which is hard to explain by any logic is also disregarded.

In the absence of any trustworthy proofs that “Russians did it” the Dutch investigators started to rely more and more on social media and on the findings of investigator groups like Bellingcat which is in the center of the article. To us the whole idea to use social media accounts as a proof in any investigation is extremely bizarre and doubtful. In our days it is not a problem any more to fake any video or photo with easily available software. We also have a lot of reasons not to trust particularly Bellingcat which was repeatedly caught red-handed by Internet users by voicing anti-Russian or anti-Syrian allegations based on fakes. And these fakes are largely exposed in the Web. Internet users have a lot of questions about Bellingcat financing, important American and Western funds that traditionally support anti-Russian campaigns are said to be the main sponsors of these “investigators”, which casts obvious doubt on their impartiality.

Besides, there are a lot of other Internet social-media investigators on the Web who claim things opposite to the “findings” of Bellingcat that clearly indicate that Ukraine is behind the downing of MH17. Why are they ignored while Bellingcat accounts are praised and unquestioned?

I personally tried to engage with Bellingcat through my Twitter account @dpol_un. But the moment I doubted their impartiality and illustrated (upon their request) that they produce fakes I faced a vicious verbal attack from them, including their founder Elliot Higgins who, as was claimed in the article “earned international attention for his exhaustive – and accurate – analysis...”. First of all, they said that I do not exist and called me “Kremlin bot” – a usual tactics for those who disrespect the opinion of the others on the Web.
I have to say that this “journalist hero” of yours disappointed me most of all sending personal insults through Twitter. I enclose some of the snapshots for your reference. After the bellingcats, their trolls and bots continued to insult me, I had to blacklist some of them, including Higgins. Of course, no apologies followed up to today which is very illustrative of quality of their “work”.

How can “responsible investigators” behave like this? There are hundreds of Internet users who already exposed their lies and all the bellingcats do is attack and bully these users. They just do not have other arguments besides insults and pathetic lies. I believe that the fact that you praise their efforts and close the eyes on all the numerous substantiated claims that they produce fakes is not becoming to the reputation of your distinguished paper. Nor it gives any credit to the Dutch investigators.

But let’s put aside the bellingcats, let their conscience judge them, they obviously do not deserve so much attention. What worries me most of all is that after four years of the MH17 tragic accident we are still very far from establishing the truth. Unfortunately, the recent push of the Joint Investigation Team to hold Russia responsible on the basis of bellingcats’ findings, inconclusive and missing data from Ukraine and US and with total disregard of our data and documents is another step in this totally wrong direction.
And the attempts to exploit the feelings of the relatives of the victims, mobilize them in support of these unsubstantiated claims are absolutely immoral.

My country remains ready to join international investigative efforts to find the truth about MH17 crash. We are also consistently supporting the efforts to find those responsible of this crime and bring them to justice. Russia must be part of the investigation team and not its object – nobody has cancelled the presumption
of innocence principle. What we do not accept are ultimatums and fakes.

Given the fact that my name was quoted in the abovementioned article in a very dubious context I respectfully ask you to publish my letter in your newspaper. I will also make it open and publish it on the website of our Permanent Mission.


Sincerely yours,


Dmitry Polyanskiy

First Deputy Permanent Representative 



20.08.2018 - 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 continues to evade any sort of cooperation with Russia with regard to the investigation of Mr Glushkov’s death. The British authorities continue to ignore our requests. After the Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommended to address all correspondence on this case not to the police but to the FCO, the Embassy has sent a respective Note Verbale.

18.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s comment on anti-Russian statement by Minister of State Mark Field

We have taken note of the speech by Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mark Field in the Philippines during his tour of Southeast Asia. The Minister has irresponsibly stated, inter alia, that “in recent years many countries have fallen victim to Russian state aggression”. These accusations are absolutely misleading. As we have emphasized over and over again at various levels, Russia does not threaten anyone. The UK, on the other hand, in recent years together with the US have initiated aggression in Iraq, destroyed Libya and committed an act of aggression against Syria this April by launching a massive missile attack on its territory.

17.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on cooperation between the UK and the OPCW with regard to the investigation of Salisbury and Amesbury incidents

Question: How would you comment on the recent information regarding the OPCW experts’ visit to the UK upon the British authorities request for “technical assistance” in the framework of the investigation of the Amesbury incident? Answer: First of all, we would like to point out that the Embassy has learned about the OPCW experts’ visit to the UK from the media publications. Unfortunately, the British side continiously refuses to launch a transparent and independent international investigation.

17.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on the UK plans to provide assistance for Idlib province in Syria

Question: How would you comment on the statement by the UK government on its intention to provide assistance for Idlib province in Syria? Answer: We monitor closely the modalities of the UK assistance in Syria, what are its objectives and who are its recipients. The official British statement issued today indicates that the assistance will be provided to Idlib province. Moreover, according to the statement, around 3 million civilians “have sought shelter” in this area, while “many have already been displaced multiple times”.

16.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning possible reputational costs to the UK and the US following the Salisbury incident

Question: How would you comment on the claims that the refusal of the British authorities to cooperate with Russia on the investigation of the Salisbury incident might damage the UK international reputation? Answer: The Embassy is still concerned about the lack of information regarding condition and whereabouts of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Unfortunately, the British authorities continue to refuse us consular access to them. The UK government ignores numerous relevant requests for legal assistance sent by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation to the Home Office. This is a clear breach of UK international obligations.

16.08.2018 - Agricultural Attaché Vladimir Derbenskiy visits School of Veterinary Sciences University of Bristol

On 15 August 2018 the Agricultural Attaché of the Russian Embassy Vladimir Derbenskiy visited the School of Veterinary Sciences University of Bristol.

15.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s comment on the UK media speculations around the Arctic

We have taken note of a number of publications in the British media (including today's issue of the Daily Telegraph), presenting the conclusions of the House of Commons Defence Sub-Committee report "On thin ice: UK defence in the Arctic" as evidence of “a serious threat to Britain from Russia on the Arctic flank”. On this false basis the authors of the pieces call for enhancing the UK military potential in the region as well as an overall increase in the government defence spending.

13.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on the prospects of the UK involvement in humanitarian assistance to Syria

Q: How do you assess the prospects of the UK involvement in humanitarian efforts to help the Syrian people? A: Our contacts at the FCO clearly show that the UK government, unfortunately, is not ready to change its position and join the international efforts aimed at providing assistance for the people of Syria. We do not see any practical steps by the official London in this direction, although, in our opinion, now is just the right time to act. However, British authorities do not go beyond expressing concerns over the Syrian population’s sufferings.

13.08.2018 - Foreign Ministry statement

On August 8, the US administration announced the imminent imposition of new sanctions against Russia on the basis of the US national law on Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination. Our country is accused of having used chemical weapons in connection with the so-called Skripal case, although no one has yet been able to provide any evidence of this, and the British side, despite our repeated requests, refuses to cooperate in the investigation of the March 4 Salisbury incident.

10.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the investigation of the death of Nikolay Glushkov

Q.: 12 August marks five months since the mysterious death of the Russian citizen Nikolay Glushkov in London. Has any clarity been established in this case? A.: Unfortunately, we have to state that no clarity has been established as the British authorities continue to ignore our requests. Since 26 April, when Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police Mr Neil Basu QPM informed us about the course of the investigation into Mr Glushkov’s death, only the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has contacted the Embassy with the request to address all correspondence on this case not to the police, as it was advised earlier, but to the FCO in the first instance.

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