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PRESS RELEASES

12.04.2015

Points of Ambassador Yakovenko’s speech at a meeting with Lord Guthrie and members of his delegation (10 April 2015)

 

Dear Lord Guthrie,
Excellency,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Friends,
- I am delighted to welcome you on the eve of the 70th Anniversary of the Victory in WW2. All the nations of the anti-Hitler coalition and, above all, the peoples of the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, made their contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany.
- Today’s meeting is especially important in a situation when we are still awaiting the response of the British side to the invitation by President Vladimir Putin to Prime Minister David Cameron to take part in commemorative events in Moscow.
We have studied the programme of the VE-Day commemorative events in the United Kingdom and are impressed by its scale. They are worthy of a nation that did not submit to Nazi Germany. These qualities and the strength of character of the British manifested themselves in Sir Winston Churchill’s war-time leadership.
Simultaneously with the events in Moscow, on 9th May the Russian Embassy will hold a wreath-laying ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial, which was erected in memory of 27 million Soviet people, who lost their lives in the fight against Nazism. Every year as much as 300 to 400 people, including members of Parliament and London’s municipal authorities, but most importantly, British and Russian veterans take part in this ceremony.
I would like to invite all of you to this ceremony on behalf of the Soviet Memorial Trust.
We highly appreciate the comradeship-in-arms between our nations in WW2, the contribution of British veterans to the Victory. For 10 months now we have been presenting the Ushakov medals to British veterans of the Arctic Convoys. As of today, over 1,700 out of 3,300 medals have been presented. The next ceremony will be held at the Embassy on 20th April. We are also presenting the commemorative medal “The 70th Anniversary of the Victory”. You are welcome to have a look at these medals.
- It is of paramount importance to understand how dangerous any attempts to re-write history, revise the outcomes of WW2 are. This poses a particularly grave threat to Europe. If this happens, we are doomed to repeat our history.
That is why attempts to glorify the Nazis, those who sided with Germany for all kinds of nationalist considerations, are intolerable. Such things take place in the Baltic states, where Hitler’s former accomplices hold parades with the participation of local authorities. The Right Sector, a nationalist organisation acting in Ukraine, does not hide the fact that it is inspired by the Nazi ideology and is an heir to Hitler’s accomplices.
- Every year Russia and like-minded nations propose a draft resolution of the UN General Assembly On combating glorification of Nazism. The latest such resolution was adopted on 18th December 2014, voted in by a majority of counties of the world. Unfortunately, members of the European Union, including the United Kingdom, abstained from the vote. It was voted against by the United States, Ukraine and Canada. We strongly believe that this issue should not be subject to geopolitical games, a matter of any political conjuncture.
- Unfortunately, our relationship with the United Kingdom is currently going through difficult times. The outgoing Coalition Government has, in effect, broken off the political dialogue, mutual trade has slipped by 21 percent in 2014, and by 52 percent in January-February 2015. This situation challenges the genuine interests of our two nations, including the fact that economic cooperation helps create new jobs as well as preserve of the existing ones. We hope that the new UK Government will re-consider these ideologised approaches to the relationship with Russia. Russia has never slammed the door or burnt bridges. We have always been ready for mutually respectful and beneficial cooperation, including interaction on the international stage.




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