12 August 2020
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892 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     884 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the UN Security Council Meeting on Syria, 18 June 2019

Mr. President,

We attentively listened to the briefings by Under-Secretaries-General Rosemary DiCarlo and Mark Lowcock. However, our appreciation goes to you, the humanitarian troika for convening a Security Council meeting on the situation in the North-West of the Syrian Arab Republic.

I tell you frankly: we were also going to convene such a meeting, because the time has long become ripe to talk about the state of affairs in Syria, including the Idlib de-escalation zone.

Some of our partners are sending signals to the international community that either have nothing to do with the real situation in Syria or distort the situation on the ground.

We are very much puzzled at the fact that when the Western forces that illegitimately operated in Syria were cleansing Baghouz and Hajin, whereby civil infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, was damaged and peaceful population died, no one ever suggested discussing the situation in those settlements.

Are peaceful Syrians in Idlib different from those in Deir ez-Zor? Why were those who died in Hajin not worthy of being discussed in the Council? When Raqqa and other cities in the Euphrates region were razed down to the ground, why did not anyone including our “humanitarian Caucus” ever remember about schools and hospitals? Why was not anyone asking such inquisitive questions as we have heard today?

We believe it is not that much about humanitarian disaster that, we are told, will happen once a large-scale military campaign starts in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

We have heard same allegations as reconciliation of various areas of Syria was in progress. Apparently, it is all about the desire to keep areas out of control of Damascus as long as possible, no matter who rules there, even if these are terrorists from ‘Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’ (HTS) who do their best to “camouflage” and pretend they are a “political force”.

Unfortunately, despite public pledges, the “anti-regime” sentiment is not gone. Same is with the goal to isolate and change authority in Damascus.

Today we have heard again words saying that we should restore the ceasefire, reiterate commitment to the Sochi Memorandum dated 17 September 2018. I emphasize: this memorandum is being fully implemented. All the military action is caused only by the need to respond to terrorists’ provocations. Once again, I remind that the Turkish-Russian memorandum does not prohibit, but encourages combatting terrorism.

The Syrian government has repeatedly proclaimed pauses in the military action that terrorists deliberately sabotaged. On 12 June, together with our Turkish colleagues we negotiated measures to be taken to spread the ceasefire regime throughout the entire area of the de-escalation zone. However, again HTS terrorists who control 99% of the Idlib area, continued to shell at the Syrian territory.

Since the beginning of May, HTS has continuously attacked positions of the Syrian governmental forces, Russian air base “Khmeimim”, and towns and villages that are close to the de-escalation zone. They use multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), mortars, and combat UAVs. Over the recent days, 12 settlements in Hama and Latakia Governorates have suffered from shelling.

On 6 June, jihadists launched a missile strike on hospital in Mhardeh. Serious damage was inflicted on the surgery, emergency treatment, and admission units.

On June 16, in the same town a missile attack wounded several people, and seriously damaged the urban infrastructure.

Yesterday militants shelled at human settlement Kudehi in Governorate Aleppo. 11 civilians died, 15 more were wounded. There are children among the victims. Mark Lowcock mentioned this episode today; however, he forgot to say at whose hands those people died.

The towns of Suqaylabiyah and Mhardeh, mainly Christian-populated, suffer from mortar and missile shelling on a regular basis. It is peaceful population that are afflicted thereby, including women and children. Civil infrastructure, medical and educational facilities sustain damage. We have not heard a word about it today: either from our Western colleagues or from UN representatives. Do they not know that terrorist launch attacks?

We can provide many more examples. More detailed information is presented in bulletins on de-escalation zones issued by the Defense Ministry of Russia, that we circulate in the Security Council on a regular basis.

Despite provocations and aggressive outings of the militants, Russia remains committed to the agreements we have achieved with Turkey on stabilization in Idlib. The military of our two countries maintain lasting contact and coordinate their activities in order to prevent de-escalation of violence and destabilization. However, Russia and Turkey will not turn a blind eye to dangerous provocations of terrorists that threaten Turkish territory, Russian air base “Khmeimim”, the Syrian military, and peaceful people.

Stop your implicit attempts to split the “Astana format”. The “Astana format” remains one of the effective, to say the least, mechanisms working to stabilize the situation in the SAR.

We stress once again: Syrian armed forces and Russian Air-Space forces target only terrorists’ facilities identified as such by intelligence data. We have a feeling of déjà vu today. Again, we hear moaning about destroyed hospitals, including those the coordinates of which were known. I have already said (not only today, but at previous meetings and even last year): in the entire pre-conflict Syria there was not that many hospitals as you say have been destroyed.

It is no secret that militants use civil infrastructure, hospitals and schools for military purposes, and they use people as a “human shield”. We reject point blank any accusations of launching indiscriminate strikes. We do not launch attacks against civil population.

We demand that all colleagues, including the UN Secretariat and UN specialized bodies used only verified information in their assessments. We have long had serious questions as to the sources of information, including those of them the UN bodies (including the World Health Organization) turn to. Please convey my words to Mark Lowcock and Rosemary DiCarlo who are now absent from this room. By the way, they do not travel to areas where strikes against hospitals are allegedly launched.

When checked, it turns out the most data is just phone calls from some “reliable sources” that nobody verified and nobody wants to name.

Today much was said about chemical weapons. Let me say that “White Helmets” that some of you are so fond of, and that collaborate with Nusra, plot new chemical provocations. We call upon the international community to be alert, because new setups of chemical weapon usage might be coming. We have warned about it on multiple occasions.

Reportedly, HTS established an entire division to tackle this.

Whereas information that comes from the Syrian government and warns against plotted terrorist chemical attacks is something the international specialized bodies just prefer to ignore.

Mr. President,

Against the backdrop of alarmist statements on Idlib, the Security Council should not shift its focus from the worrisome and volatile situation in the East Bank of Euphrates that is out of control of the Syrian government.

This part of Syria builds up tension. The local population resists demographic engineering imposed on them with the support of the Western coalition. Protest capacity is accumulating that can escalate into an armed confrontation. We believe an extensive escalation can be avoided and sustainable national reconciliation process can be started only given termination of the illegal international U.S.-led occupation of Syria and beginning of dialogue between representatives of the local ethnic communities and the authorities of Syria.

We should pay priority attention to the situation in Baghouz, Hajin, Raqqa – settlements situated in the North-East of the SAR that are in a devastated condition and almost unsuitable for people to live in.

IDP camp “Al-Hawl” in Hasakah Governorate (not controlled by the Syrian government) is worth Security Council’s specific attention. The situation in the camp is almost disastrous.

The camp is overcrowded – the total number of inhabitants exceeds 74 thousand, 47 thousand of them being under aged. Adults in the camp are radical militants. So radical in fact, that it is basically unsafe to be in the camp, even for humanitarian personnel.

In “Al-Hawl” there is severe shortage of water, food, medicines, medical personnel and equipment. Infectious deceases are thriving.

On our part, we continue to work in coordination with the Syrian authorities to evacuate Syrians from IDP camp “Rukban”, situated in the zone of illegitimate U.S. occupation.

In the recent days, the camp’s inhabitants have recommenced to exit to the government-controlled areas, despite impediments created by illegal armed formations that take shelter in this area of Syria. As of now, approximately 14 thousand people have left the camp.

The situation around “Rukban” and “Al-Hawl” demonstrates certain patterns that show themselves in the Syrian conflict. Problematic IDP and refugee camps emerge only at the territories that are illegally occupied by foreign troops. It is these areas that display the gravest human rights violations.

Mr. President,

Getting back to the situation in Idlib, let me point out that ultimately this Governorate, just like other Syrian territories, should be back under control of the Syrian government, the hotbed of terrorism there should be eradicated. Besides, it is vital to prevent terrorists from spreading to other areas of Syria and farther in the region.

Militants who fought in Syria have already started to relocate to Afghanistan, Libya and actually can get back to countries of their nationality in Europe or Asia. To counter the spread of this threat is much more important than to artificially inflate and escalate the situation in the Persian Gulf.

Russia will set forth its efforts to combat terrorism in Syria, and establish a sustainable political process in this country in its national capacity, as a member of the “Astana process” and as a UNSC Member State. We will stand ready for interaction with all Member States that are constructive and interested in bringing peace back to Syria.

Thank you.


In response to the representative of Great Britain: 

Thank you, Mr. President,

So that is what it is about. Now I have understood the essence of the question and of the answer. It turns out, one must not bomb hospitals the coordinates of which are known. But when it comes to carpet bombing that ruins hospitals down to the ground – it is acceptable. This is how I understood the statement of my English colleague.

In response to the question, I have already said that we seriously doubt the statistics of devastated medical facilities that we are given. We have raised this issue, and not only in this room. We raised it in a dialogue with our UN colleagues and received no trustworthy and clear answer. How accurate is the statistics that we are presented? We were told that statistics proving damage inflicted on hospitals in this or that area that used to be bombed, is based on evidence of some “trusted persons” that the WHO is in connection with, and who inform the WHO. This data, that no one verifies, becomes the basis for the statistics. This is not quite convincing for us.

We will continue to demand information as to the statistics that enabled high-ranking UN officials to operate the data we hear in this room and that is at the core of accusations that we hear from some Member-States.

Thank you.



25.07.2020 - "Concerning the sensational report on Russia". Article from News Agency "RIA Novosti", 23 July 2020

The report was prepared before last year’s general election, but its publication was long delayed by the ruling Conservatives, and opponents of Boris Johnson accused him of doing it specifically to downplay the Russian threat and prevent his party from losing credibility. Now, however, the report, written in part by well-known retired MI-5 employee Christopher Style (creator of the file on Trump’s “Russian contacts”), has been published. The British press has been disappointed: there is no proof of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum (although they cannot understand how the British voted to leave the EU when most of the political elite, almost all of the press and the City were against it), although there are rumours of attempts to influence the Scottish independence referendum. This, however, is London’s point of view; from Moscow’s perspective, the report is sensational, because its authors’ conclusions are the best evidence that the British powers-that-be are prepared to work in the Kremlin’s interests. Style and Browder (another co-author of the report) do not in fact understand this, but this is the skill of the so-called KGB heirs’ game. But let’s start at the beginning.

16.07.2020 - The Human Rights Situation in Ukraine - Report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

The human rights situation in Ukraine continues to degrade. The Kyiv authorities adopt legislative acts contrary to the rules of national law and international obligations. Human rights activists document systemic violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms. Referring to the need to combat the so-called Russian aggression and separatism, political opponents, independent journalists, media outlets, and undesirable members of public organizations are being prosecuted. The rights of internally displaced persons, the Russian-speaking population, and representatives of national minorities are limited. The clergy and parishioners of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church are being prosecuted. The right to liberty and security of person is not respected. In Ukraine, there are numerous facts of illegal detention, torture, intimidation, ill-treatment, sexual violence, including to obtain confessions or compel cooperation.

16.07.2020 - Embassy comment concerning today’s unfriendly statements by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

The Embassy has noted the statements by the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab concerning unspecified “Russian actors” who have “almost certainly” sought to interfere in 2019 UK General Election through “online amplification” of sensitive documents relating to the UK-US Free Trade Agreement, as well as the alleged responsibility of “Russian Intelligence Services” for cyber attacks aimed at stealing research information on coronavirus vaccine development.

06.07.2020 - Embassy comment on the UK announcement of sanctions over the Magnitsky case

The decision by the British Government to impose sanctions against a number of Russian officials invoking the death of Sergei Magnitsky in 2009 reflects the self-declared status of the UK as the global leader in sanctions policy. All questions regarding the circumstances of Mr Magnitsky’s death have been answered long ago. Today’s decision was quite obviously conceived merely as a public move.

29.06.2020 - Embassy press officer’s reply to a media question on British media reports on Russian “collusion” with the Taliban in Afghanistan

Question: How would you comment on the recent reports in British media that Russia supposedly offered “bounty” to the Taliban to kill UK as well as US soldiers in Afghanistan?

16.05.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to Financial Times

Dear Editor, I feel compelled to express disagreement with the Financial Times coverage of Russia’s efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Judging by your reports, Russia’s response has been to manipulate with figures at home and to spread disinformation abroad, with the government acting inefficiently and doctors having inadequate protection. This distorted picture requires a refutation. Even by most pessimistic accounts, Russia’s performance in terms of healthcare system capacity and death rate is among the best of all major countries.

15.05.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to The Times

Sir, Roger Boyes is wondering why Russian industrialists (he calls them ‘oligarchs’) are helping to fight Covid-19. Are they suddenly ‘embracing philanthropy’, or ‘cleaning up their nasty image’, or else seeking to impose a ‘new compact’ on the ‘floundering’ government?

11.05.2020 - Statement by the Foreign Ministry concerning US attempts to rewrite the history of the Victory over Nazism

Attempts to distort the results of the defeat of Nazism and the decisive contribution our country made, which are continuing in Washington even during these days of universal celebration of the 75th anniversary of Victory, cause utter indignation.

08.05.2020 - Telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Great Britain Boris Johnson. The President of Russia and the Prime Minister of Great Britain exchanged greetings on the 75th anniversary of Victory over Nazism, which became one of the greatest events of the 20th century and an example of unprecedented cooperation between the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition. Vladimir Putin noted in part that Russia remembers the exploits of the British sailors, participants in the Arctic convoys, owing to which the Soviet army and industry received arms and equipment needed during the war.

07.05.2020 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab

On May 6, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab at the latter's initiative. The two officials exchanged greetings in connection with the upcoming 75th anniversary of the victory in WWII. They noted the contribution of the members of the anti-Hitler coalition in the fight against Nazism, and emphasised the importance of using the alliance's experience in mobilising the international community's efforts to counteract today's global challenges. Particular attention was paid to discussing the efforts being taken to tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus infection and to overcome its effects.

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