19 September 2021
Moscow: 20:30
London: 18:30

Consular queries:  
+44 (0) 203 668 7474  

1295 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1287 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s interview with the RT television channel, May 3, 2021

Question: What impact have the sanctions had on the state of relations between Russia and the West?

Maria Zakharova: Unfortunately, the growing use of politically motivated, unilateral restrictive measures by a number of Western countries, primarily the United States, has become a reality of our time. We increasingly view the sanctions against Russia as a “gesture of despair” and a manifestation of the local elites’ inability to accept the new reality, abandon the stereotypes of their bloc-based thinking, and recognise Russia's right to independently determine its path of development and build relationships with its partners. Apparently, they find it difficult to handle the obvious successes of the Russian economy, which is growing more competitive, internationally, and the greater presence of high-quality Russian goods and services in world markets.

The vicious practice of imposing unilateral political and economic restrictions, especially the extraterritorial application of such measures, is an infringement on the sovereignty of states and interference in their internal affairs aimed at keeping, at any cost, their dominant position in the global economy and international politics, which they are gradually losing. Diplomacy is being replaced by sanctions; sanctions help mask trade protectionism and attempts to divert attention from internal problems as well.

Indicatively enough, the West has ignored the calls of the UN Secretary-General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to suspend unilateral, illegitimate sanctions on the supply of medicines, food and equipment necessary to fight the coronavirus during the pandemic. We also have not seen any interest from our partners in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initiative proposed during the G20 summit to create green corridors in international trade, free from sanctions or other artificial barriers.

The restrictions introduced against our country undoubtedly have had a negative impact on our relations with the collective West. They are undermining mutual trust, and darkening the prospects for normalising relations. Although we do not at all support pushing the sanctions spiral upward, we nevertheless accept the challenge and respond promptly and in a targeted manner. Given the obvious fact that anti-Russia sanctions are a double-edged weapon that inflicts no less damage on the one wielding it, we do hope that common sense will prevail, and our partners will return to building ties with us, relying on the principles of justice and equality and relinquishing the “right of the strongest” and the invasion of sovereign affairs of other states. We have repeatedly made it clear that we did not start this sanctions war, but we are ready, at any point, to do our part in order to end this pointless confrontation, in which there will not be and cannot be any winners.

Question: How strong is the impact of the Western actions on the Russian economy?

Maria Zakharova: The escalation of reciprocal sanctions pressure is having an all-around negative influence both on the Russian and Western economies. Assessments of the reciprocal damage vary due to their objective nature but are still running into the hundreds of billions of dollars. Under the circumstances, we continue responding to restrictions in a balanced, appropriate manner, being guided by the interests of national economic development and domestic economic operators. In these actions, we proceed from the principle of “doing no harm to ourselves.” In part, we retain our special reciprocal economic measures, that is, restrictions on the import of certain products from the countries that have introduced anti-Russia sanctions. We are consolidating our national financial system and searching for new international partners, including regional ones. We are also taking other measures aimed to diversify our foreign economic ties. We are working on economic and legal mechanisms to reduce the negative impact of restrictions on the development of bilateral trade and investment cooperation. We have drafted legislation providing for measures to counter new potential unilateral steps by the United States and other countries. We have largely managed to adapt to the external challenges and turn the situation in our favour, as well as launch programmes for import substitution and the development of advanced, competitive domestic industries.

Question: What steps is Russia taking to reduce its dependence on Western financial systems?

Maria Zakharova: The discussion on the need to reduce dependence on the dollar as the world’s leading currency has been going on for at least a decade. The previous upheavals in the US financial market and the subsequent global financial and economic crisis exacerbated the vulnerability of the global economy to the dollar domination and called into doubt the sustainability of the world currency system based on the supremacy of one national monetary unit. Washington’s current sanctions “voluntarism” is making even more dubious the reliability of dollar transactions. In these conditions, the task of consolidating the independence and sustainability of the financial system to external threats is increasingly becoming a priority for any state.

Question: Is Russia always destined to be dependent on the US dollar?

Maria Zakharova: In order to reduce excessive dependence on foreign means of payment, states and financial market participants have to adapt to new realities, including by finding and developing alternative settlement mechanisms. From this perspective, the gradual departure from the US-centric configuration of the world monetary system is an objective response to a combination of factors. Consistent steps in this direction in coordination with our trading partners would help strengthen the national currencies, as well as minimise the potential economic damage from new restrictive measures Western countries might introduce. This work will undoubtedly require significant effort to reformat the established models of cooperation, to create mechanisms for the support and functioning of new systems of mutual settlements and pricing in the market. Russia has recently signed agreements to expand the use of national currencies in mutual settlements with China and Turkey. There are similar agreements within BRICS. Positive trends are observed in the EAEU, with a growing share of national currencies in mutual payments, as well as in trade and economic cooperation between Russia and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America.

Russia’s possible disconnection from SWIFT is so far considered a hypothetical scenario. Nevertheless, interdepartmental work is underway to minimise the risks and economic damage to our country from restricted access to the usual international financial instruments and payment mechanisms. The Central Bank’s Financial Messaging System is one example of alternative instruments. Options are also being discussed for adding interface with its foreign counterparts, such as the European SEPA, the Iranian SEPAM and the Chinese CUP and CIPS.

Cooperation is growing between the Russian MIR payment system and its foreign counterparts, in particular, the Chinese UnionPay, the Japanese JCB and the international Maestro card. Such co-branded cards are accepted both in Russia and abroad. In particular, various operations with them are already possible in Armenia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkey. At the same time, it is a long and laborious process. And it is too early to talk about any specific dates for putting together a comprehensive national toolkit for payment transactions or for its promotion to international markets.

At the same time, Russia is vigorously exploring the opportunities provided by modern digital technologies and the potential of their use to increase the sustainability, stability and independence of the national financial system and means of payment, with a clear understanding that digital money can become the foundation of an updated international financial system and cross-border transactions in the future.

Question: Can Russia ever truly insulate its economy from a hostile foreign policy?

Maria Zakharova: Only a small group of countries – to their own detriment – are pursuing a hostile policy towards Russia. In response, Russia will continue to use external challenges as additional incentives to increase the stability of its economy, mobilise the creativity of national business, modernise production, and diversify economic ties.

We will not shut out the outside world, which is something the initiators of the sanctions are persistently pushing us to do. On the contrary, we are always open for dialogue on all problems or concerns, and are ready for equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries, but only on the basis of the principles of equality and mutual consideration of interests. This is how we actually see stable international relations.

For our part, we strongly support a broad international discussion of ways to counteract the illegitimate unilateral measures. We are confident that a systematic dialogue should help reduce the business community’s concerns regarding the uncertainty and instability in global affairs, which are provoked by the West’s one-sided and inconsistent policy. Even today, we can see that the initiators of the sanctions are starting to realise, albeit slowly, that any unilateral steps cause unacceptable damage to those taking them, and are pointless and counterproductive.




24.08.2021 - Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the meeting of the so-called Crimea Platform in Kiev

We have taken note of an event that was held in Kiev on August 23 and was entitled a “Crimea Platform Summit.” The stated aim of this political project, developed with active involvement of government experts from the United States, the UK and the European Union and funded by the United States Agency for International Development, is “the de-occupation of Crimea and its reintegration with Ukraine.” The participants involved are just right for this goal – mainly being NATO countries and some international organisations sharing a common delusion that the Crimean Peninsula should be part of the current Ukrainian state and that it can be torn away from the Russian Federation by increasing political and economic pressure on Russia.

21.08.2021 - Embassy comment on new sanctions imposed by UK

We took notice of the new personal sanctions imposed by the UK on the Russian nationals for what is claimed to be ‘their direct responsibility for the poisoning of Alexey Navalny’. It is indicative indeed that sanctions are being rubber-stamped in a process which is completely detached from actual facts and looks like a formality, a way to ‘mark anniversaries’.

20.08.2021 - Press release on the anniversary of “Alexey Navalny case”

August 20 marks one year since the emergency hospitalisation of Russian blogger Alexey Navalny in Omsk - an incident which, through the purposeful efforts of a group of Western states, was raised to the level of an international event, which led to the bringing of unsubstantiated charges against Russia for allegedly using a “chemical warfare agent” on its territory. At the same time, the actions taken by the FRG authorities and their allies over the past 12 months clearly show that that a pre-planned provocation was carried out against our country to discredit the Russian Federation in the eyes of the international community and to damage its national interests.

19.08.2021 - Human rights situation in the United Kingdom. Report by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 2021

The United Kingdom positions itself as the benchmark in promotion and protection of human rights while neglecting principles of sovereign equality of States and non-interference in their internal affairs. Teaching others how to behave and repeating trite age-old clichés, London tries to disguise its own problems, including comfortable existence of organizations with neoNazi ideologies, increase in racist acts, discrimination of ethnic minorities in many areas of public life, abuse of powers and use of torture by law enforcement officials. This list is far from exhaustive. Besides, crimes of British soldiers against civilians during military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq remain unpunished.

17.08.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to media questions following a visit to the Kaliningrad Region, Kaliningrad, August 17, 2021

Question: You had a meeting with freight carriers today. What is the status of the Dubki-Rambinas checkpoint, when will it become operational and, in general, what problems did the carriers share with you? How can you help them? Sergey Lavrov: I discussed the state of affairs with the Governor and the President of the Association of International Road Carriers {ASMAP). Many issues under review were highly specific and purely technical. As we reiterated today, they are being considered by a special government commission chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov. The next meeting will be held in September. Today's meeting, which made it possible to sum up all our concerns, was quite timely. In a joint effort with our colleagues from the Kaliningrad Region Government and ASMAP, we will summarise these suggestions for further consideration by this commission.

14.08.2021 - Russia's MFA Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the situation concerning BBC Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford.

The official London, as represented by Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas Wendy Morton and the UK’s diplomatic mission in Moscow, have chosen to link the non-renewal of the Russian visa and accreditation for BBC Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford with “the deteriorating situation with media freedom in Russia,” cynically turning the whole situation on its head. We have to state that these assertions are false.

29.06.2021 - Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China on the Twentieth Anniversary of the Treaty of Good Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, 28 June 2021

On the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the Treaty of Good Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, signed on 16 July 2001, the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, hereinafter referred to as the Parties, in order to continue the dynamic development of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction in a new era, in accordance with the spirit and letter of the Treaty, declare as follows:

24.06.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 9th Moscow Conference on International Security, Moscow, June 24, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 9th Moscow Conference on International Security in Moscow.

18.06.2021 - The Visa Centre in Manchester will resume its operation

Due to considerable number of requests of foreign nationals living far away from London the Visa Application Centre in Manchester will reopen on 23 June.

17.06.2021 - President Putin's news conference following Russia-US talks, June 16, 2021

President Putin's news conference following Russia-US talks in Geneva.

all messages