22 September 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

09.09.2018

Embassy response to Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s remarks at the Andrew Marr Show, 9 September 2018

     Sajid Javid: This [the Salisbury incident] was the act, we now know unequivocally, crystal clear, this was the act of the Russian state.

Comment: If Mr Javid has evidence that allows him to make this kind of direct accusations, why wouldn’t he share it with the public? So far, what the public has seen is nothing but photos of two Eastern-European-looking men walking around Salisbury on two different days. Everything else, including exact dates and names, let alone these gentlemen’s involvement in the Skripals poisoning and their links to the Russian state, is only assertions based on unverifiable “intelligence” and on the “lack of alternative explanations”. If the “crystal clear”-level evidence exists, it is in everyone’s interest for it to be published.

Sajid Javid: Russia is against the International Rules-Based System. The same system by the way that since the end of the Second World War has brought us prosperity and peace, relative peace throughout the world. Russia doesn’t like that system.

Comment: The “international rules-based system” is not what was agreed at the end of the Second World War. It is a recent invention by the West aimed at distorting the real UN-centered international system based on International Law. The notion of a “rules-based system” allows Western countries to pick and choose whatever “rules” suit them (regardless of whether they have been agreed universally, regionally or have only been proposed) and to try to make them pass for something universally recognized.

For its part, Russia has always been, and remains, a staunch supporter of International Law as agreed between all states. We cherish the unique legitimacy of the United Nations, as opposed to the numerous “global alliances” and “groups of friends” created by proponents of the “rules-based system” in order to achieve aims which don’t find enough support at the UN.

The difference between the universally accepted International Law and the “rules-based system” is well known to the people of Iraq, Libya or Syria: where International Law would have protected them from armed aggression, the “rules-based system” has, on the contrary, encouraged foreign intervention under false pretexts and with disastrous consequences. It may have brought “peace and prosperity” to “us”, as Mr Javid puts it, i.e. to the West. But for many, it has only brought war and devastation.

So the Home Secretary is right: Russia does not like the “rules-based system” as long as that “system” aims at arbitrarily dismantling International Law, agreed and developed by all states ever since the Second World War.

Sajid Javid: We have enormous capability to defend ourselves. […] We have considerable powers and we’ll bring all those powers, both covert and overt to bear on Russia and what it represents today.

Comment: Mr Javid knows full well that Russia represents no threat from which Britain needs to be defended. We don’t intend to kill British people, to grab British territories, to harm British infrastructure, to disrupt British trade. It is a pity that more and more members of the UK Government and Parliament are joining the large-scale anti-Russian propaganda campaign which essentially intimidates the British people. This is another Project Fear, aimed at securing popular support for the Conservative Government, budgetary allocations for defence, and UK’s continued standing in NATO and vis-à-vis EU partners, at risk because of Brexit.

At the same time, Mr Javid and the whole Government must realize the unhelpful nature of their provocative rhetoric which may be seen as preparing the public for aggressive actions against Russia under the disguise of “defending ourselves”. It is worth recalling that back in March, we invited the UK Government to confirm that they are not planning cyber attacks against Russia. No such confirmation has been forthcoming.

Sajid Javid: Russia has no extradition treaty with the UK. It has a history of not extraditing its citizens.

Comment: This is a relatively minor point, but one that aptly demonstrates the level of competence of the British government and civil service.

Actually, Russia and the UK do have an extradition treaty. It is called the European Convention on Extradition, 1957. It does not only exist on paper but is a working instrument, with the two countries occasionally extraditing suspects to each other (even if the level of UK’s compliance with Russia’s extradition requests leaves much to be desired).

True, Russia does not extradite its own citizens. That is not because we have “a history” of refusing to do so, but because this is directly prohibited by the Russian Constitution, in the chapter on human rights that cannot be amended except through adoption of a fully new Constitution.

Yet, this does not preclude Russia-UK cooperation on a particular criminal case, even when the suspects are Russian. Alongside the European Convention on Extradition, there exists the European Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, 1959. Assistance under that Convention might include taking evidence from a witness, servicing a writ etc. We fail to understand why the UK excludes the possibility of seeking Russian cooperation within the framework of that Convention. This would be the natural course of action for a country genuinely interested in a progress of its investigation.

Furthermore, given that competent Russian authorities have opened a criminal case of their own, the existing cooperation framework might lead to suspects being brought to court in Russia. Quite obviously, this is impossible without evidence being transferred from the UK to Russia. Again, the British refusal to explore this avenue only testifies to the lack of evidence capable of standing up to judicial scrutiny.




LATEST EVENTS

21.09.2018 - Reply by the Embassy’s spokesperson to a media questionregarding the Guardian piece on Julian Assange

Question: How would you comment on today’s Guardian article claiming that “Russian diplomats held secret talks to assess whether they could help Julian Assange flee the UK”? Answer: This publication has nothing to do with the reality. The Embassy has never engaged either with Ecuadorian colleagues, or with anyone else, in discussions on any kind of Russia’s participation in ending Mr Assange’s stay within the diplomatic mission of Ecuador.


21.09.2018 - Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on the incident in Salisbury

Why should we trust or distrust Petrov and Boshirov when there’s zero evidence on the table that would in any way link their very existence to the Salisbury incident? Just because these people were there? Then, can Britain provide a list of all the foreigners who were in Salisbury on those days? On top of that, no one has seen Sergey Skripal since the incident. No one has even talked with Julia Skripal. The whole thing is absurd, because these two individuals came in, talked with Simonyan, provided answers to the counts that the UK publicly accused them of, and, for some reason, everyone is now saying, “We do not believe them.” However, when Yulia Skripal spoke before a camera, which was operated by no one knows who, and didn’t answer any question, but instead read a text apparently written for her by someone, and before that published a text similarly written for her by someone, everyone said, “Yes, of course, we trust her.”


20.09.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the meeting of the Minister for the Middle East Mr Alistair Burt with the White Helmets group

Question: During his visit to Turkey the Minister for the Middle East Mr Alistair Burt met with the infamous White Helmets group, whom the Russian Federation considers terrorist supporters. How would you comment on that? Answer: It is up to HMG of course to decide which contacts are to develop and whom the senior diplomats are to meet. Nevertheless, this choice is a truly remarkable one.


18.09.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the classification of the materials on A.Perepilichny by the UK government

Question: How would you comment on yet another decision of the British side to classify additional information on Mr A.Perepilichny within the inquest into his death? Answer: This procedural decision concerns classification of information on Mr A.Perepilichny’s connections to the British secret services, to wit, whether he has been their agent or made contact with them. It has been made public just before the next hearing of the inquest into the death of Mr A.Perepilichnny, which is scheduled for 21 September in the Old Bailey.


17.09.2018 - Embassy press officer’s reply to a media question concerning the statements of FCO Minister of State Sir Alan Duncan

Question: How would you comment on the statement of Minister of State Sir Alan Duncan to the effect that the UK will “push for new sanctions […] as well as robustly enforcing the existing EU regime against Russia”? Answer: This and other similar statements fall in line with the Conservative government’s current policy aimed at destroying the fabric of Russian-British relations, further isolating Russia and presenting it as a major threat to the “rules-based international system”. Faced with the realities of Brexit, the British government is desperate to convince its partners of the need for a tougher sanctions regime against Russia. As usual, it resorts to insinuations, unverified facts and media leaks. Despite our numerous requests, no evidence of Russia’s responsibility has been provided. Russia’s proposals of cooperation in dealing with common challenges and threats, including in the sphere of cybersecurity and chemical disarmament, are being rejected without explanation.


13.09.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning upcoming annual conferences of the UK’s major political parties

Question: What does the Embassy expect from the party conference season in the United Kingdom starting this week? Answer: Annual conferences of UK’s major political parties are important events in the country’s life. At the conferences parties set out their priorities on a wide range of issues and arrange open and frank discussions on pressing domestic and international matters. Among other things, they offer a platform for a dialogue between party leaders and activists and the diplomatic corps.


12.09.2018 - Embassy press officer’s reply to a media question concerning the inquiry into the death of Mr Nikolay Glushkov

Question: 12 September marks 6 months since the mysterious murder of the Russian national Nikolay Glushkov in London. Does the Embassy have any new information regarding the circumstances of his death? Answer: Unfortunately, the British side continues to pay no attention to our numerous requests, including the official request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation for legal assistance in the criminal case opened in Russia into the death of Mr Nikolay Glushkov, which was delivered to the Home Office as early as in April. The Embassy’s proposals to arrange a meeting between the Russian Ambassador and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, or between experts from law enforcement authorities of the two countries, made as far back as in April, have also been met with silence.


11.09.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the statements by the British officials on retaliatory measures against Russia

Question: How would you comment on the recent statements of the British officials who said that the UK was prepared to “retaliate” against Russia, including by deploying its cyber warfare capabilities? Answer: Yet again, we have seen a series of official statements to the effect that the UK should use its “massive retaliatory capabilities” to counter Russia’s “aggression”. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday that the UK had “considerable powers, and we’ll bring all these powers, both covert and overt to bear on Russia”. Last week GCHQ head Jeremy Fleming spoke in a similar vein saying that the British authorities and their allies were prepared to “counter the threat” allegedly posed by Russia. In this context he mentioned a plan to “deploy the full range of tools”, including Britain’s “offensive cyber capability” against Russia. Such statements are reckless, provocative and unfounded.


08.09.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s response to a media question on the investigation Nikolay Glushkov’s death

Question: How would you comment on the new circumstances of the investigation by British authorities of the death of Nikolay Glushkov? Answer: We should note that British authorities continue to refuse to cooperate on the investigation of the mysterious death on 12 March in London of former Deputy Director General of “Aeroflot” Mr Nikolay Glushkov producing different versions and leaks that are convenient for the UK Conservative government.


07.09.2018 - Reply by the Embassy Press Officer to a question regarding alternative explanations of the Salisbury incident

Question: How could you comment on the statements on Russia having produced “40 fictitious narratives” on the Salisbury attack? Answer: These reports are themselves fictitious. As we have said before, Russia does not, and cannot, have an official version of the incident for the simple reason of having no access to any data on which that version might be based. Russian discussions over this issue are going on in a UK-imposed information vacuum, filled with endless leaks in British media which turn out to be false time and again. One may recall how many times it was announced that suspects had been identified (each time with different names and in varying numbers), or how many ways of executing the attack have been discussed.



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