Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

10/18/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/18/2018 07:45

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Paris Match and Le Figaro

Question: Western countries, the media and various organisations, including the World Anti-Doping Agency and the OPCW, have been constantly accusing Russia of meddling in elections and staging cyberattacks. Just recently, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands simultaneously voiced similar accusations and submitted six-month-old information to the media. What is this? Is this part of a planned campaign to put pressure on Russia and introduce new sanctions? What do you think about the evidence that has been presented?

Sergey Lavrov: It is hard for me to think about this seriously because all the evidence has been presented to us through the media. With all respect to the media and the profession of journalism, we, as serious people, cannot examine such cases where Russia is accused of all mortal sins while the legal norms created specifically for such situations are being disregarded.

You mentioned the anti-Russia accusations that were brough up six months ago. We were recently presented with accusations that date back four years. The British government has once again turned its attention to the death of former Aeroflot Vice President Nikolai Glushkov in London, where he had been granted political asylum. Speculations about Russia's complicity in his death are already being circulated. Shortly before his death, Glushkov wanted to disclose information about his contacts with the security services and their plans in the United Kingdom and other Western countries. So, six months is not the limit. We are ready for even more massive provocations. Our response is very simple: if they communicate with us through the media, we will also reply very cordially via the media.

This means that we ask absolutely practical questions. Why doesn't the OPCW activate its mechanism for investigating the incident you mentioned? The document states expressly that a country party to the Convention, if it has questions for another signatory country, should launch direct professional dialogue. This was not done. Moreover, the Investigative Committee of Russia sent an inquiry to the concerned British agencies, noting the need to activate provisions of an agreement for mutual assistance on criminal cases. The British side failed to reply to this inquiry for several months. We received a reply several days ago stating that, for security reasons, the UK is in no position to assist Russia on this criminal case linked with the fate of the Russian citizens. Sergey Skripal is both a Russian and British citizen, but Yulia Skripal is exclusively a Russian citizen. All international conventions require London to honour its obligations and to allow Russian representatives to meet with her. But this has not happened.

In addition, no answer has been provided to a very specific, question: where is Sergey Skripal? Where is Yulia Skripal? These are not questions in the 'highly likely, no one else had a motive' style. Why aren't their relatives allowed to meet with them? Why have their relatives been refused British visas? There are many other specific questions. If our Western colleagues are trying to wind us up and make us loose our temper, they surely have not studied history. If all this is superficial and this political rage is only a temporary thing and will go away on its own after they run out of steam, then we will be ready to conduct a serious, professional and propaganda-free conversation that remains within the bounds of the law.

To be continued...