Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

01/11/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/11/2019 10:56

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, January 11, 2019

Talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono

According to the agreements reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe in Singapore last November and in Buenos Aires last December, the first round of Russia-Japan talks on the peace treaty between the two countries will take place on January 14 in Moscow. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Minister Taro Kono will head the parties' delegations.

The ministers will also discuss practical aspects of developing bilateral ties as well as a number of topical issues on the global and regional agendas.

Update on Maria Butina

We are closely following the situation around Russian national Maria Butina who was arrested in the United States on fabricated charges six months ago.

Recently, diplomats of the Russian Embassy in Washington paid another consular visit to Maria Butina. The Russian national is holding up well, spending a lot of time reading and exercising.

She was finally transferred into the prison's general population. Previously, as is known, she was held in a section for dangerous offenders where she was allowed to leave her cell only for two hours per day and only at night.

On our part, we will continue to provide support to Maria Butina and will make further efforts to secure her speedy return home.

Dmitry Makarenko detained in the United States

We are closely following the situation with Russian national Dmitry Makarenko who was detained by the FBI on December 29 on the Northern Mariana Islands which are subject to US jurisdiction.

We would like to stress once again that the Russian Embassy in Washington did not hear about the incident from American law enforcement but heard about it from Mr Makarenko's family. In violation of the bilateral Consular Convention, US officials did not notify us of his detention within the prescribed three days. The subsequent attempts to justify it by stating that the notice was sent to our Consulate General in Seattle - which Americans themselves shut down last March - do not hold up.

On January 9, our diplomats finally managed to get in contact with the Russian national. He is about to be transferred to Florida but at that time had been taken only as far as Honolulu, Hawaii. He is being held in a local prison. He said that he feels well and did not voice any complaints.

Naturally, we will be closely monitoring developments in Dmitry Makarenko's case. We insist that his rights be fully respected by US officials.

At the same time, we would like to remind Russian citizens that they should thoroughly consider all risks when planning travel abroad, especially if there is reason to believe they may be subject to action by American law enforcement. This mainly concerns travel to the United States and the countries bound by extradition agreements with Washington. The list of these countries can be found on the US Department of State website (

To be continued...