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1098 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1090 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

PHOTO REPORTS

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko’s remarks at the Defender of the Fatherland Day reception, 27 February 2018

Your Excellencies,

Military Attachés,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Today it gives me a great pleasure to welcome you all at this reception.

We celebrate the Day of the Russian Armed Forces – probably the most cost-effective military organization on this planet. At least that's what I see from the figures published by the very respectful IISS institution – Russia spends 46 bln. US dollars on defence, whereas UK – 52 bln. dollars, USA – an amazing 600+ bln. and all NATO countries combined – more than 1 trillion dollars. And still even with this absolutely disproportional defence spending Russia manages to maintain an Army which effectively fights terrorism in Syria, protects our borders and sovereignty at home.

Our military contacts are so close that each time Russian ship with smoke pass close to the British territorial waters – or maybe not that close, but it does not really matter – or our plane flies somewhere high in the sky – they are always escorted by British counterparts. So British soldiers, sailors and officers get a good portion of additional military training absolutely free and what is even better – UK's Ministry of Defence can always ask for some extra money from the Exchequer (as the matter of fact General Carter did it during his speech at RUSI a month ago) to confront new surrealistic – or should I say extravagant threats – underwater cable cutting, remote activation of NATO nuclear devises by hackers with the use of the resources of Internet. The famous slogan “Russians did it” is quite appropriate in this case (Laughter).

Ladies and gentlemen, to put it in a bit more serious way – of course Russia, as any other nation, is interested in strategic stability in Europe and beyond. That is why we always follow the rules of international law, we realise the importance of the OpenSky Treaty and its obligations, as part of the 2011 Vienna Document we provide information and invite representatives from your countries to monitor our large scale military exercises like "Zapad-2017" or "Center-2016" (some of the invitees preferred not to go – but it was their decision). We try to find new and transparent ways of expressing our concerns of the current international and regional problems, especially when previously established discussion platforms – such as the Russia-NATO Council – are actually put on hold. That said I believe all your respectful Ministries of Defence have received invitations to the 7-th Moscow Conference on International Security which is scheduled for April this year. This event, organized by the Russian Ministry of Defence, will provide a good opportunity to discuss in a frank and open way most pressing challenges we are facing – starting from the situation in Syria and all the way to European Security and the use of so called "soft power" to pursue political or military objectives.

I would like to add that we remember the times of the Second World War and the glorious story of the Arctic Convoys. It is always an honour for us to meet brave veterans of the Royal Navy and award them with the Russian Ushakov Medals.

So to put it in a nutshell I feel very proud of the Russian Armed Forces, men and women in uniform who serve my country and indeed help other nations to fight for their freedom and independence and against terrorism in Syria.

Ladies and gentleman, I propose a toast to the Russian Armed Forces.

 





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