Briefing by Director of the Foreign Ministry Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Vladimir Yermakov, Moscow, March 21, 2018
Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, friends,
We are glad to see you at the Foreign Ministry on this cold wintry day that nevertheless carries a promise of spring.
We are grateful to you for responding so quickly to our invitation, which we issued only yesterday.
The situation is indeed unusual. There is an urgent need for a non-politicised and highly professional discussion of the Skripals’ poisoning case. We have distributed a position paper. We ask you to bring it to the notice of your governments.
The language of this position paper, just as any other such paper, is dry legalese with technical details.
It would be wrong to invite you here just to say this. I propose that we hold an open discussion in this closed diplomatic group.
Let us look at hard facts, beginning with the humanitarian aspects of the case at hand.
On March 4, 2018, two people, one of them Russian citizen Yulia Skripal, were attacked in Salisbury, a flourishing city in the south of England.
Various versions of the circumstances of this tragedy have been voiced in the UK. They highlight the use of chemical agents, which the British call Novichok, for some reason. All of these versions do not stand up to any criticism.
In this situation, UK officials have laid the blame on Russia hastily, hysterically and without presenting any evidence, and demanded explanations from us.
I would like to repeat that it was a Russian citizen who has been attacked in the UK. Logic suggests two possible variants. Either the British authorities are unable to ensure protection against such terrorist attacks on their territory, or they were directly or indirectly involved in the preparation of this attack on a Russian citizen. There is no other alternative.
We are surprised, to put it mildly, that the British authorities had denied even consular access to the Russian citizen who has been attacked contrary to the elementary norms of civilised interstate relations. They are prevaricating, but at the same time they distribute video footage from the hospital where the Skripals are allegedly being treated. But this only raises more questions.
The British have refused to share the information obtained by their investigators and have not replied to the Russian requests regarding Yulia Skripal. We have no reliable information about what happened to this Russian citizen over the past two weeks and why this happened to her. This is hard to comprehend: these events are unfolding in the 21st century in a country that is considered civilised.
Naturally, demanding any explanations from Russia in this situation is simply absurd. Russia does not owe anything to anyone in this context, and it cannot be held accountable for the activities or inactivity of the British authorities in their national territory.
We see that the British authorities are becoming increasingly nervous, which is logical. The clock is ticking. They have driven themselves into a corner. Ultimately, they will have to answer a growing number of questions, but they have no answers.
The inference that they have made a mess of things but Russia is responsible anyway and must be held accountable is the wrong kind of logic. This logic may be good for a British or US movie, but it does not work in real life, especially in relations with Russia.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that the attack on the Skripals in Salisbury is most likely a clumsy staged provocation. We must expose those who have orchestrated this attack and the reasons behind it.
One thing is clear: Russia has absolutely nothing to do with this if only because such an audacious undertaking would be unacceptable and damaging for Russia in every respect.
But the United Kingdom has a completely different record. Suffice it to recall how former Prime Minister Tony Blair openly admitted not so long ago that the British leadership and intelligence services lied to themselves and to the British nation while plunging it into the bloody war in Iraq. Well, he did make this confession now, but hundreds of thousands of absolutely innocent Iraqi citizens had been killed as a result of that war, and no one has been brought to account for this.
One can only speculate as to who is trying to plunge the United Kingdom into another dirty and a priori unwinnable campaign against Russia, and for what purpose. Is this some kind of a hypnotic trance under the influence of Michael Basset’s ‘Strike Back’ television series, aired in the United Kingdom several months ago and featuring the Novichok chemical agent?
Now let us look at the more serious and more formal aspect of this affair.
According to our British colleagues, this incident involved the use of chemical warfare agents.
This prompts the question whether these British officials have any idea of chemical warfare agents. Any self-respecting expert will tell you that the use of real chemical warfare agents inevitably causes numerous casualties in the immediate vicinity. However, judging by statements from London, the situation in Salisbury is absolutely different.
The subject of the investigation has not been accurately determined so far, and all the facts are being deliberately concealed. Moreover, real evidence could have disappeared during this time period, as has repeatedly been the case in the United Kingdom. Therefore it is difficult to understand what they are talking about, and what CWC obligations have to do with this.
Let us go on.
They are telling us that the United Kingdom contacted the OPCW on March 8, 2018. But London suffered a setback straight away.
The United Kingdom declined to cooperate with Russia, although the CWC stipulates a clear mechanism for interstate cooperation and for eliminating suspicions through open information exchanges and consultations. It appears that there is no other more constructive, simpler and more logical option. All one had to do was send an official inquiry to the Russian side and receive an official reply in ten days, as stipulated by the CWC. However, the British side rejected this option from the very beginning. In other words, London clearly demonstrated that it was not interested in resolving any issues and that it was probably pursuing some other goals.
I repeat, the CWC stipulates a simple and transparent mechanism of bilateral consultations. If the parties concerned really want to resolve issues, then this seems to be the most acceptable scenario for launching dialogue, to say the least. And if one of the parties does not want to resolve issues, then the entire affair inevitably becomes deadlocked.
Instead of conducting constructive expert dialogue and searching for solutions, one can, of course, run out into the marketplace and start screaming that someone has attacked him or her, that the culprit is obvious, but that, for some reason, that attacker is unexplainably far away. But this resembles some substandard thriller, one of many being generated by the film industry, and has nothing to do with politics.
It is unclear why all this surrealism should become part of real politics and real interstate relations.
In any event, Russia certainly has no intention of encouraging or even responding to these brazen actions of a seemingly civilised state.
Nevertheless, we met the British side halfway once again and suggested jointly investigating the Salisbury incident, so as to expose the culprits.
To this end, we, naturally, requested access to all materials of this case being investigated by the Scotland Yard. Otherwise it is simply impossible to gain an insight into the March 4 Salisbury incident.
Well, they turned down our proposal once again, without explaining their motives.
Moving on, we learned that on March 19, 2018 experts from the OPCW Technical Secretariat paid a visit to Great Britain after being invited formally by Mrs Theresa May to independently verify the analysis that had been made by the British government of the Salisbury incident.
Yesterday, the UN Security Council held a meeting with Director-General of OPCW Technical Secretariat Ahmet Uzumcu to discuss chemical weapons in Syria. However, our British colleagues also mentioned the Salisbury chemical incident. At the meeting, Russia was provided with yet another opportunity to ask Director-General of OPCW Technical Secretariat, as well as our British colleagues a few simple questions. Unfortunately, we did not get any convincing answers. The speakers provided elusive replies to the questions that we viewed as being most important.
Russia expects both London and the OPCW to provide a formal detailed review on all matters related to the Skripal case. We need full opinions with detailed evidence of the implementation of the appropriate chain of custody procedures under the CWC.
In addition to this, we intend to clarify with the OPCW under which paragraph of CWC Article VIII is the OPCW Technical Secretariat cooperating with Great Britain. It is important to note that Article VIII is devoted to the OPCW structure and the distribution of powers among its bodies.
Moreover, another thing to keep in mind is that under the CWC the Technical Secretariat is not entitled to analyse national findings, as Britain has requested.
Here is another very important element.
Our British colleagues went as far as questioning the performance of the OPCW, the most reputable and effective international organisation in disarmament affairs.
The Russian Federation has successfully completed its national programme to eliminate its chemical weapons stockpiles in cooperation with 17 reputable OPCW state parties and the whole European Union and under OPCW’s strict control. The chemical weapons stockpile of about 40,000 tonnes that Russia inherited from the Soviet Union was eliminated in its entirety. These data were carefully reviewed and confirmed by multiple inspection teams sent by the OPCW Technical Secretariat.
On September 27, 2017 the OPCW officially confirmed that Russia had completed the elimination of its chemical stockpiles ahead of schedule. For Russia, this matter was settled once and for all.
To be honest, dirty attempts by British politicians to muddy the waters of this noble undertaking do them no credit. London will never succeed in undermining the OPCW and CWC. We strongly believe that all 192 full CWC state parties will prevent this from happening.
London’s malign attempts also suggest that the whole affair could have been orchestrated from the other side of the Atlantic. There is no secret that Great Britain’s closest partner remains the only country in possession of the largest chemical weapons stockpile in the world. Of course, the increasing critique from CWC state parties does not suit them. Maybe this is the reason behind the dirty fuss around the Salisbury incident?
It is not my intention to indulge in conspiracy theories at this point. This is not something Russia plans to do. At the same time, we have more and more questions we would like to ask Great Britain, and not a single one of them has been answered so far in an intelligible manner.
The main issue still remains unclear. What actually did happen on British soil to two Russian citizens? So far, our British colleagues have been saying a lot of things which are rather confusing. There were too many inconsistencies.
Let me emphasise that we are carefully monitoring the developments around the Skripal case, and take note of all the details. We are confident that the masterminds and perpetrators of this provocation will be held to account.
In conclusion, allow me to mention one more important element so that you get a clear understanding of the matter.
Russia is not accusing anyone of anything.
May I ask foreign capitals not to distort messages coming from us.
Yes, in our statements we referred to chemical and technology capabilities of the Czech Republic, Sweden and several other countries. This was just to provide an example of advances in research and development across the world.
Again, please note that in this context Russia is not accusing anyone of anything. Professing groundless accusations against someone is not our style.
My colleagues from the Defence Ministry and the Industry and Trade Ministry have joined me for this briefing, which means that we can have an in-depth, substantial and open discussion.
I give the floor to Major General Igor Kirillov, head of the Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defence Forces of the Defence Ministry.
Igor Kirillov: Ladies and gentlemen,
We invite you to take a broader look at this problem. In light of the developments in Eastern Ghouta, Damascus has been again accused of using chemical weapons. At the same time, the international community prefers to close its eyes to the fact that the terrorists use chemical weapons against the Syrian government forces and civilians.
The Syrian government forces have found secret facilities for the production of chemical weapons in the liberated populated areas in Eastern Ghouta. It is obvious that these facilities were used to manufacture chemical munitions for provocations, which were subsequently blamed on the Syrian government forces.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry announced in early March that the militants in Eastern Ghouta were preparing a large-scale provocation against the Syrian government. Damascus officially confirmed readiness to provide all the necessary assistance for investigating chemical attacks in Syria. International organisations refused to cooperate with the Syrian government, thereby abetting the terrorists’ illegal actions. The Syrian Foreign Ministry pointed out that over 40 tonnes of chemical warfare agents had been found in the areas liberated from the terrorists. The ministry added that the Syrian authorities had requested more than once that OPCW experts be sent to Aleppo, Khan Sheikhun and Eastern Ghouta. But the OPCW’s Technical Secretariat rejected the request, arguing that this would be too dangerous.
Before of the 87th session of the OPCW Executive Council, the Russian Foreign Ministry received information to the effect that the terrorists were preparing provocations using chemical weapons to discredit Bashar al-Assad’s government and to provide grounds for an anti-Syria decision that is being advocated by the US together with its allies.
The revelation of these intentions has prevented the US-led coalition from delivering the planned attacks at the key military facilities in Syria with the purpose of changing the balance of forces in favour of the so-called moderate opposition.
The fact that the 87th session of the OPCW Executive Council has shifted its focus from the Syrian chemical file to accusing Russia, without good reason, of the chemical attack in Salisbury and of violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is proof of the inability of the US-led coalition to attain its goals in Syria.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has made a series of tough statements, saying that the Novichok nerve gas, which was allegedly used to poison Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia, could only be produced in Russia. Our British colleagues have not provided any hard evidence. They disregard our requests for mutual consultations, explanations or samples collected at the site of the tragedy. It looks like Britain is afraid of what an objective and professional investigation by top experts might reveal.
In fact, all groundless accusations against Russia are based on the interview and statements by Vil Mirzayanov. Let me remind you that he immigrated to the US in 1996, and now lives in Princeton, New Jersey, and works for the US Government. He supported the Russian opposition on numerous occasions and signed a petition titled Putin Must Leave. In 2008, Vil Mirzayanov published “State secrets: An insider’s chronicle of the Russian chemical weapons program.” The book featured a formula of the substance known in the UK as Novichok along with a detailed description of how to synthesise it.
According to Mirzayanov, Novichok is a nerve agent that is ten times more deadly than any agents known or developed until now. This powerful chemical warfare agent can be easily produced using formulas provided in this book. All is needed for that is to have a degree in chemistry, the necessary equipment and elements.
The Russian Federation views the publication by Vil Mirzayanov of the formulas for making toxic agents and ways to synthesis them as an act of abetting terrorism. Consequently, all questions on Novichok’s alleged existence and properties should be addressed to Vil Mirzayanov, who works for the US Government. It was he who said that Novichok was a powerful chemical warfare agent. Russia has nothing to do with this.
Since 1970s, programmes to develop new-generation toxic agents have been carried out in Western Europe. Great Britain was and still is one of the countries involved in this programme, and has extensive experience and expertise in developing substances of this kind. Let me remind you that it was Great Britain who developed and on June 21, 1962 filed a patent under the number GB1346409A for the production of VX organophosphorus chemical agents. The patent was later sold to the US.
One of Great Britain’s most important facilities in terms of developing and researching toxic agents is the Porton Down laboratory, located just a few kilometres from Salisbury – what a strange coincidence. It is well known and was officially acknowledged by the British Government in 2006 that the country carried out experiments on Ronald Maddison and 360 other people to study the effects of sarin on humans.
The Porton Down laboratory remains a top-secret location. Its official purpose is not only to dispose of old chemical weapon systems, but also experiment on protections against chemical and biological weapons, as the laboratory’s official website claims. Recent media reports on the allocation by the UK Government of about 50 million pounds to the laboratory beg the question whether Porton Down researchers were planning to destroy that same Novichok they have been talking about so much. Yesterday, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in an interview that the country had samples of this agent.
According to recent media reports, the Porton Down laboratory was under a lot of pressure to conclude that the toxic agent used in Salisbury was of Russian origin.
As countries across the world seek to get rid of the existing chemical weapons stockpiles, Great Britain on the contrary expands its Porton Down laboratory and continues experiments, putting its own people in great danger, under the pretext of developing ways of countering chemical and biological weapons.
At the same time, the Russian Federation has been acting in good faith strictly in keeping with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). This fact was confirmed by Director-General of OPCW Technical Secretariat Ahmet Uzumcu, who issued a statement on September 27, 2017 confirming that Russia completed the elimination of chemical weapons on its soil. Despite the confirmation that Russia had eliminated its chemical weapons stockpile, Great Britain and the US continue to make groundless accusations against Russia of violating the CWC.
Accusations against Russia coming from the US are especially cynical, since the US has been unable to eliminate its chemical weapons stockpiles so far, citing the lack of resources to complete this effort. This is perplexing and outrageous. Can it be that a country with the largest defence budget in the world is unable to allocate funds in order to deliver on its commitments under the CWC? This is impossible to believe, taking into consideration that the US points to deficient funds whenever it faces international commitments that run counter to its interests, despite having ratified international instruments to this effect.
Comparing the Salisbury situation with the earlier provocations in Eastern Ghouta and Khan Sheikhun, it is obvious that Western countries are ready to use any dubious or illegal methods and means in order to discredit the Russian Federation and its legitimate Government.
Vladimir Yermakov: You will receive a memo in English. Our statements today serve as additions to it. What we said today was hardly news to anyone as we basically relied on the recent statements made by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and our permanent representatives to the OPCW in The Hague and the UN in New York.
It is exceptionally important that there are no unanswered questions on such serious matters. If we do pursue the goal of resolving the existing problems then they must be uncovered, discussed and solved. This is the only way to achieve a positive result. Unfortunately, we have not seen any positive steps on behalf of our British counterparts. I hope there will be a time when our British colleagues return to their highest diplomatic professionalism and top expertise. This was my personal attitude towards Great Britain and British experts. I am shocked at what we had to hear from their so-called politicians (it is hard to even call them politicians). It is a shame for the diplomats and experts from the UK with whom I have been in constant contact for years that such people are speaking out from London.
Question (representative of the Slovakian Embassy): Foreign Ministry Official Spokesperson Maria Zakharova named several countries developing chemical substances, including Slovakia. Would you please comment on this?
Vladimir Yermakov: Fortunately or unfortunately, Slovakia was named as part of Czechoslovakia. Later, we checked our database and Czechoslovakia indeed had a high potential of chemical technology development. Once again, this does not mean at all that we are accusing Czechoslovakia of anything. On the contrary, we positively described the high potential of the chemical industry in the country. By accident, through an oversight, it happened that not only the Czech Republic but also Slovakia were named on this list. We apologise for the accidental mistake. Again, we have absolutely no claims against the Czech Republic.
Question (representative of the British Embassy) (retranslated): In the context of this briefing it would be helpful to shortly clarify the situation and the actions taken by us with regards to the Russian Government, as they are seen through the British perspective.
After the said incident, we proposed to discuss the matter with Russia in a bilateral format but we have not received any constructive response yet. Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal were poisoned with the Novichok agent, which we consider an attempted murder. Great Britain concluded that there is a high probability of Russia being responsible for attempting to murder those people based on the following facts: the chemical substance was identified by our leading scientists and we had information that Russia used to produce the substance and still has the capacity to produce it. Russia did not offer any explanation on how the substance could be used in Great Britain and why Russia has an undeclared chemical programme in violation of international law. We have seen misinformation, attempts to manipulate facts and came to the conclusion that force was used against Great Britain, that the British society was put at risk, which is a breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention and international law.
We need an answer. Did Russia produce the agent and why did Russia not declare it according to the CWC? We have asked Russia to explain how the agent got into Great Britain. We have not been given a response.
Vladimir Yermakov: I am very pleased that we have an opportunity to hear the British view. I think it is very helpful to everybody and confirms how far we are in our evaluations and approaches.
We are talking about two Russian nationals attacked in Great Britain. We have asked that you provide all the evidence of, as we believe, a terrorist attack against Russian nationals in Great Britain. The British refuse to give us anything and instead talk about some ‘Novichok’ and some Russian ‘attack’ against Great Britain. It is not our duty to provide anything to Great Britain as it was an attack on two Russian nationals on British soil. Let’s carry out a joint investigation with fully transparent data instead of making absolutely vague assumptions regarding any “novichoks,” “starichoks”(old-timers), or “durachoks”(fools). Please understand this is the verbiage of British television shows. Aren’t you embarrassed to speak about this in the presence of this audience, ambassadors from 150 states? This is ridiculous. I feel sorry for British diplomacy.
Russia has completely different goals and objectives in the world. Perhaps you should try and shake off your Russophobia and insular thinking (I do not mean to offend you, I hold very high regards for the British diplomacy and I am ashamed to hear all this). We have learned so much from our British colleagues and experts. Your expertise is of the highest possible level. So how about our experts and yours sitting down together and finding out what did happen? Why did you simply shut down and hide behind a shell? Why are you pointing fingers at us and saying that everything is our fault? What will happen next? We will definitely not respond to that.
I would like to give Viktor Kholstov, Director of the Centre for Analytical Research on Chemical and Biological Weapon Conventions under the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, an opportunity to speak.
Viktor Kholstov: I would like to say the following regarding the question from a representative of the British Embassy. I want to make it perfectly clear that Russia has not produced any toxic agents other than those it has declared under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1997. Consequently, we have no such weapons among our stockpiles. Russia declared all its chemical stockpiles, which were subsequently inspected by experts from the OPCW Technical Secretariat, whose inspection teams also verified the destruction of Russian chemical weapons.
The problem developed following publications by Vil Mirzayanov, who had moved to the US, probably to improve his financial standing after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the ensuing economic hardships. Let us look at what he writes. His first publications did not contain any formulas of any new toxic agents. His first large monograph was published in Russian in the early 2000s. It did not contain any formulas or descriptions of a production technology, despite the fact that many other known toxic agents could be included in the category he subsequently named. I can cite the following examples. Slovakia has been mentioned here in connection with Czechoslovakia. I have great respect for the Czech scientist who was working on protecting the public from potential chemical weapon attacks. Professor Jiri Matousek is a big scientist, and I do respect him. However, back in 1994 he wrote about the danger of certain toxic agents in terms of their use in chemical warfare. Other scientists, including Ivan Macek, identified several dozen such chemicals.
Here is a list of such agents that was compiled back in 1994. It has no relation to Russia or any of the other current developments. The list provides complete data on the toxicology of these agents and their structural formulas. There are several dozen such agents. The CWC was submitted for signature in 1993 and any amendments to the text, despite the fact that the convention stipulates a procedure for amending the list of toxic agents, would have delayed its implementation. This is why no state with knowledge about such chemicals did anything at the time.
Furthermore, I would like to point out that extensive research involving these toxic agents was conducted at the Edgewood Arsenal facility of the US Department of Defence. I cannot say that this research was based on the data provided by Professor Matousek or other scientists. Here is the database for one such toxic agent, with the spectra of toxic chemicals, which was a novelty at that time. Professor Matousek did not have this information; he only had the toxicology data. It is an official database for one of such compounds. It dates back to 1998 and comes from the Edgewood Arsenal.
Vil Mirzayanov did not have these formulas in the early 2000s. Trying to earn a living and to improve his finances, Mirzayanov published a new book, probably in cooperation with the Edgewood Arsenal, titled “State secrets [An insider’s chronicle of the Russian chemical weapons programme].” This book included some formulas. Naturally, he implied a Russian connection for political reasons, as he would not have benefitted from this publication otherwise.
Why didn’t he write this before, if he knew about it? Because he had to provide proof, which was only available in the above database. The US sent the book to the OPCW Technical Secretariat. The OPCW’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) carefully analysed the problem and ultimately presented its conclusions.
According to the SAB, the issue of new toxic agents has been attracting increasing attention in recent years, particularly among non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Although only a small amount of information has been made public, it was claimed that a new type of nerve agents named Novichok has been developed. In December 2008, a former Soviet defence scientist published a book, claiming that the toxicity of certain Novichok agents may exceed that of VX. At the same time, the SAB stated that it had insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of Novichoks. In this connection, the SAB said that the OPCW as the organisation established to oversee the implementation of the CWC must expand its knowledge about such toxic agents in order to facilitate the implementation of the Convention.
Any state has the right to issue a statement if it has the data for creating a database and submit it to the CWC. However, Mirzayanov clearly provided the formula only after this information had been confirmed by Czech scientists within the framework of permitted research, which takes a very long time, and only after he gained access to the data of the Edgewood Arsenal facility. And he probably did so at the prompting of his American colleagues.
As it was rightly said by General Igor Kirillov, head of the Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defence Forces, Article I of the Convention stipulates that “each State Party to this Convention undertakes never under any circumstances to develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to anyone.” The publication of materials such as those in Mirzayanov’s book is evidence of indirect transfer of knowledge about chemical weapons, which is tantamount to indirect transfer of chemical weapons. Why has the US administration published this book? Can anyone answer this question? I don’t think so, because it is a clear and flagrant violation of Article I of the CWC.
This problem was later discussed many times at the OPCW’s review conferences, all of which adopted similar decisions.
Question (by a representative of the Embassy of Serbia): Serbia was exposed to hysteria coming from Western countries in the 1990s as well. Fake news and lies were rife. I would like to draw a parallel with what led to the bombing of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and then Serbia. I’m referring to the Sarajevo market bombing, of which the Serbs were accused. Later, in 1999, when they wanted to take Kosovo and Metohija away from Serbia, the British and the Americans collected the bodies of the Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army soldiers and invited CNN reporters over telling them that the Serbs killed those people. This caused the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 with the use of unconventional weapons, such as depleted uranium. As a result, the cancer incidence in Serbia increased 12-fold. Those who bombed us did not pay attention to this. Remember, in 2003, Colin Powell showed a test tube allegedly containing a chemical substance and accused Saddam Hussein of producing chemical weapons, which led to bombing Iraq, including, reportedly, with the use of chemical weapons. Do you draw any parallels with the current situation surrounding Sergey Skripal’s poisoning?
Vladimir Yermakov: I believe, one can draw lots of parallels. We understand the assessments of our Serbian comrades and brothers, with whom we, of course, agree. We’ve been helping them and will continue to do so. By the way, I appreciate Colin Powell as a professional. I knew him personally. We talked when I worked at the Russian Embassy in Washington and was responsible for the military-political aspect of relations between our countries. Of course, this was a case of high-level policy when Powell mustered enough strength to admit his mistake. I would like to see more politicians in the UK who are really trying to understand what is going on, rather than jump to hasty conclusions, so that at the end of the day you don’t have to regret what you did earlier. Probably, such a parallel is more appropriate in this particular case. Pigeonholing is the easiest thing to do. Our goal is different though. We want to build mutually beneficial relations with all states, including, of course, the UK. Perhaps, everyone would benefit from reducing the number of such cases in our interstate relations. It would be much better if we gathered for briefings to discuss absolutely different topics and talk about our interaction in addressing real matters, rather than some fictitious events.
We are grateful to our Serbian comrades for remembering those events which may not be forgotten under any circumstances. NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia is a black stain on relations between the states. Nobody should forget this, because, unfortunately, back then the world was a place where just about any state could be subjected to such a bombardment based on the contents of some obscure “test tubes.” However, we hope that such a world is already history, and no one will now even harbour such a thought. Right in the centre of Europe, civilised democratic states and members of the European Union use bombs filled with uranium. Talk about the highest degree of democracy, humanism and European values at their best… I can keep talking on this subject, as there are things to say.
Question by a staff member of the French Embassy in Russia (via interpreter from English): First, I would like to express our solidarity with our British colleague in connection with the chemical attacks in the UK. We are interested in an investigation conducted by the British authorities. Notably, chemical weapons have not been used in the EU since World War II. That’s why the Salisbury incident has become a matter of international security for us. I believe we can all agree that the OPCW is one of the most reputable international organisations. Will you trust the results of the work being carried out by the OPCW experts in conjunction with British experts on the Salisbury incident?
Question by a representative of the Embassy of Sweden, (via interpreter from English): I have two comments that, in my opinion, might be useful. The first comment is linked with what my colleague from Slovakia has already said. Sweden has also been mentioned in this context. I would like to note that Sweden has stated its position on this issue very clearly. We have denied unacceptable accusations, expressed by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, that the nerve gas used in Salisbury might have been originating from Sweden. Second, I would like to say that, like my colleague from France, Sweden, as well as the EU, has expressed solidarity with the United Kingdom and expressed support for it.
Vladimir Yermakov: I would like to thank the representative of Sweden very much. If you have come across any accusations with regard to Sweden in the remarks of Maria Zakharova, Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Information and Press Department, then I am ready to apologise to you because the Russian side certainly did not express any accusations with regard to Sweden. It is probably good that you are showing solidarity with the United Kingdom because you have to help each other. Maybe we should all solidarise and start a truly professional investigation of this matter, instead of misusing such words as novichok, starichok (old man) and durachok (fool). There are many such words in the Russian language.
Question by a representative of the Embassy of Germany (via interpreter from English): Earlier, you said that to resolve this issue, the United Kingdom should have addressed it in a bilateral format, under the Chemical Weapons Convention. On March 13, the Russian Foreign Ministry made its first statement on this issue. If I am not mistaken, it suggested that, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the official British response was a clear provocation aiming to discredit Russia. In your opinion, does this statement meet Moscow’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention to resolve the issue in a conscientious manner and bilaterally, especially with due consideration for the legitimate questions raised before Russia the previous day by British Prime Minister Theresa May?
Vladimir Yermakov: To be honest, I don’t know what your area of expertise is. Any expert on arms control knows the procedure for setting forth one’s position and how to conduct international talks. It goes without saying that if you want to accomplish something, you first present an argument and then jointly reach a conclusion. If a representative of another state approaches you and starts accusing you of something, without presenting any evidence, it is impossible to quickly resolve the issue.
I don’t quite understand your question. I would like to emphasise once again that Russia insistently and consistently advocates a comprehensive investigation of the Salisbury incident. We are ready to take the most active part in this process. If they simply tell us that someone has found something somewhere, and that we are to blame for everything, then we won’t make any headway. The United Kingdom’s actions are its own problem. To put it simply, we will not respond to the question if it is put this way. If you want to conduct an investigation – invite us and disclose all data, and we assure you that we will find out the truth together. That’s all, everything is simple and easy-to-understand. This is how serious interstate issues are resolved. Otherwise nothing will come of it.
Question (representative of the US Embassy): It is important in this forum to demonstrate that we in the United States also stand in complete solidarity with our partners in the United Kingdom, in the European Union and in NATO. It’s important, especially in this forum, since you have mentioned former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the courage that you suggest he demonstrated. It is very important that you, instead of demonstrating a similar type of courage, you attack, attack, attack my British colleague. In this forum in particular, instead of demonstrating the type of courage that we would hope to have seen in the 21st century, the Russian Federation continues its tried and true tactics of denying responsibility, distracting and disinforming. Again, we stand with our colleagues in the United Kingdom, and we will, as our colleagues in the United Kingdom, hold Russia accountable for its illegal actions.
Vladimir Yermakov: We are grateful to the respected representative of the US Embassy for his remarks. It would be interesting to know what American lawyers would make of them. You probably worked at the US State Department? Have we met before? I used to know everyone at the US State Department, and everyone there used to know me. That’s water under the bridge… In the past, nobody in the US State Department talked to me in this manner. You are probably on a mission from Washington. Well, everyone has a mission to accomplish.
As for solidarity, we would like to see the day when the United States expresses solidarity with the Serb people who have been affected by the NATO bombing raids. Nobody can understand what happened in Salisbury. It is very good that you stand in solidarity with your NATO ally, your closest NATO ally. Overall, I can respect that. I am not being sarcastic. This is really very good, and it is the right thing to do. But we need to move forward. Let us really investigate this event. We have heard so many accusations thrown at Russia that we have stopped worrying. So, if you really want to investigate the Salisbury case, let’s do it. This will be real solidarity.
Again, there is nothing to answer, because the question has not been formulated so far. We must have complete information regarding the investigation that is underway – I hope – in Salisbury, starting with the video monitoring cameras. This is the 21st century, after all, and the United Kingdom is one of the most technologically advanced countries. You have recorded everything. Share it with us, and we will help you to investigate this case.
Our Serbian colleague has said correctly that some analogies come to mind. Or take the crash of the Malaysian Boeing.
Do you remember that you had information blaming Russia for that tragedy even before the plane hit the ground? Or have you forgotten this? You ought to be ashamed. Don’t you in the United States have any recorded data showing who really shot down the Malaysian Boeing? I understand that you will tell me that you work for the US State Department and that you have no relation to this. But you did record everything, because your satellite was right over the site. You know for sure who shot the Malaysian Boeing down. But everyone kept silent, and the investigation was deadlocked. And Russia was not invited to take part in it. Again, the blame was laid on Russia even before the Boeing crashed, which has been proved without any doubt. The United States has complete information regarding who did this and how it was done. Have you shared this information with Malaysia or the Netherlands?
Question (from the Ambassador of Venezuela): I would like to express our support for the Russian Government as it strives to resolve this matter in a responsible and transparent manner, and to invite the Government of Great Britain to do so as well.
We would also like to know who these people are who are bringing charges. As our friend from Serbia said, there were the bombers, as it was in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Why do you think this was done?
Vladimir Yermakov: You are asking interesting questions, but they are not quite in my portfolio. I deal with arms control, while your questions are more philosophical in nature. In general, your question already suggests some answers. Perhaps, you had the chance to hear the assessments that were provided at the high political level with regard to this incident, so I will not repeat them here, so as not to be misunderstood.
Our main job is not to wonder whether someone wanted to hurt Russia with this incident. Frankly, we have recently grown accustomed to painful blows from our colleagues in the United States and Great Britain, now even France has started making some obscure gestures. We almost don’t react to them. We talk and think about ways to build new relations between states under the new abruptly changed circumstances. The world is definitely past the era of unipolarity, and it is absolutely clear that US clout is no longer what it used to be in the 1990s, when almost everything was decided by Washington, and no one dared to object. Our country and the Foreign Ministry were led by the people who couldn’t even think about doing anything in defiance of what the US State Department said. Every person must decide for themselves whether it’s good or bad. These times are gone forever. We must build our state-to-state relations based on the realities of 2018, rather than rely on past schemes developed by Colin Powell and Tony Blair, for which they had to apologise publicly.
Frankly, if you ask me for my personal take on what happened and the underlying reasons for what happened in Salisbury, I would say these were some pre-planned actions against Russia that could not stop this flywheel. So, it somehow manifested itself. I hope that reason will prevail in London. They may even not admit that they made a mistake – we do not need this. Let’s interact to address matters that arise. We will not demand an apology from you. If there’s a problem, let’s deal with it. If you don’t have a problem, then roll it back quietly. The key problem is that people are suffering. Two Russian citizens were hurt in the UK. We have serious doubts that anyone will be held responsible. This is not the first time such things are happening.
Drawing an analogy, we can evoke the case of Boris Berezovsky who asked President Putin to allow him to come back to Russia, but then committed suicide in London. Such “accidents” never stop happening to our British colleagues. This is not an isolated incident, it has already become a trend with the potential to make conspiracy theorists out of all of us. I would very much like not to see such accidents happen. If they do happen, then let’s investigate them, if you want. If you are a civilised state, then make all the data available and let’s investigate it together. Blaming Russia is foolish. Russia will never answer to you.
Question (from the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina): I’d like to ask my colleagues not to use the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the sake of these deliberations.
Vladimir Yermakov: We understand. Everyone has their own position, which is only right. Good thing we didn’t touch upon the conflict between North and South Korea, otherwise we would continue for another three or four hours here. I’m not saying this tongue-in-cheek. Each state has its own stance, which it must make public. Of course, we will not use the Bosnia and Herzegovina conflict in our discussion here.
We have already gone over our allotted time. I would like to thank everyone again. Thank you very much for coming here and participating in this discussion. I would like to express my hope that our briefing today was helpful for our British colleagues in finding avenues of interaction. I can’t say we have aided the investigation in any way. Of course, it’s up to you how you want to go about it. However, since Russian citizens are involved, we will demand that all pertinent data be disclosed.
2 hours? A brief summary of what is important would be good.
You can get that from commenters. I will try to do that for you, when I have had the chance to pay close attention to the entirety of the report.
This isn’t a spectator sport, however.
what is important is the full 2 hours.
if that is too much
then the problem is your attention span
I am around the 1 hr mark 10 minutes and confess I may not be able to finish taking notes this evening because I am an early to bed, 4 am to rise kind of guy…..but I just might finish, because around the one hour mark the British Ambassador(?) or their rep…… speaks and the drama ratchets up considerably!
If you know you can’t finish tonight I imagine any serious person who cuts to the chase and goes to the part at around 50 minutes will most probably finish later…when they can allocate the time.
There ( at 50 minutes) the Russian chairing the matter expresses the hope that British diplomacy will soon “regain their professionalism”…..and the very next person to is a British lady from the British Embassy…..
See what she says (clue: you’ve heard it before……any judge in any decent courtroom would reprimand such irresponsible dodgy inventiveness…from any counsel……IMHO) and watch the composure of the entire panel of Russian experts. Well composure in terms of anger….. is first rate.
What might be criticized is some of the smiles and smirks of the Russian experts. But they have more control than I!!!!
This past summer my attorney informed me that no matter how ridiculous the other side, don’t laugh!
The Russians smiled but did not laugh. In my questioning by opposing counsel, I did laugh, (softly!!) until coached to cut it out. But that was just an unimportant civil dispute.
We prevailed, nevertheless.
45 minutes to go. Yes, I think I will be finish….tonight.
one must remember too…… Diplomats and elected representatives are totally reliant on advisors…. so called experts….
This is a western charade, theatre of the worst – the most dangerous – kind.
Its so painful and so embarrissing to realise that these western morans who represent the “west” hold our future in their sweety little hands…..
sadly telling lies in foreign policy projection has become a huge part of the western political culture today ….
“telling lies”?…. you said it. Brings to mind, unfortunately, “The Protocols of Zion” . Quote: “Our countersign is — Force and Make-believe”.
Now that “the Force” has (for the time-being at least) failed in Syria we get an absolute tsunami of “make-believe”.
Thankfully millions of Brits DON’T believe … and going by the reaction here to Johnson’s offensive “Putin-is-the-new-Hitler” schtick, a majority are starting to get angry with the dangerous fools who lead us.
Absolutely agree…the references to height of western democracy being uranium shells….”accidents” seeming to happen to many Russians on UK soil… Russia being accused MH17 by usa before the plane hit the ground….usa saying and has but not releasing info re MH17…..etc…this presentation and q and a- noting the opportunity respectfully dealt with by the panel to direct accusations by uk and usa- allowed these issues to be brought out in the open much better than official statements …and as reminders against the hegemonic purposeful misdirections.
The trouble is that the purpose of this information is to educate and inform the public and if even those who are sympathetic to the Russian case cannot do 2 hours how many of the target audience (those inclined to believe British liars) will this presentation reach? There should be a summary of points on video as well.
I respectfully think that a 2 hrs ‘MUST WATCH!!!’ Should come with at least some rudimentary summary or explanation why it is ‘must watch’. This is not an attention span issue it is a prioritization issue.
Because I keep myself well informed of the issues in this case, and if this is not just a slow-mo repeat of the same things I am already aware of, I would happily watch it.
– Kind regards, Shyaku.
Watched it live and as more EU drones started talking it felt like they were basically declaring an open war. Disgusting
I loved the smile in Mr Vladimir Yermakov’s face (that is his name, right?). He had a good time. The whole thing is laughable. If just the UK realised it…
Two weapons to use on idiots are silence and satire.
Normal sensible conversations with idiots are extremely painful to watch.
This saga is overly diplomatic and excruciating to witness.
I attempted to get the “Novi-Chocolate video ads/Новичок/Novichok” satire aired in the Cafe, hoping someone might “pick up” and put to satirical use, but my efforts were rejected.
Anyway, this saga can only wear itself out, but the script is pathetic and boring.
Doubling down by the Empire. Russia is hardening up fast but still displaying manners and offering goodwill! I’m afraid that is going nowhere excepting support is offered by the traditional friends of Russia as usual.
So far, no answer to the question: “And what is next?”
Things on the war front? Well, the Empire wants their war dammit! And how dare Russia deprive them of it!
I’m afraid tensions were only ratcheted up and the word de-escalation has been removed from all Empire Dictionaries. Oh Boy!
I have been searching for a remark which David Irving quoted, made by a member of the British elite prior to World War 2 …
“Mister Hitler shall have his war, whether he likes it or not”.
I would like to know its source, if anyone knows.
“We will force this war upon Hitler, if he wants it or not.” – Winston Churchill (1936 broadcast)
Thankyou very much, and this information leads to much more … yes, Britain certainly did instigate WW2.
History is repeating …
I listened to all this. The idiot who represented the UK (actually not an idiot, she was just doing her job and no doubt in private would admit it was stupid) just parroted out May’s previous words and never addressed any of the substantive questions raised; the EU and US speakers merely talked about solidarity with the UK.
Telling was the fact that the Russian main man referred to the US rep as someone he had never seen before, and was presumably from the State Dept.
None of the Russian requests for data or access to their citizens were dealt with.
The Russian side were well prepared, and the fact that they are pursuing this in this way indicates they have nothing to hide and are pissed off.
I’m increasingly convinced that Russia is playing for a bit more time. It truly does feel like a game of chess.
“I’m increasingly convinced that Russia is playing for a bit more time.”
But why? IMHO the only possible reason could be gaining sufficient time to clear the roaches from East Ghouta in Syria – why? because it would eliminate one more of the possible false flag locations, and possibly provide more time to beef up the defenses in Syria.
I get the feeling that Russia is adopting a posture, a bit like a boxer puts up his dukes to guard against his opponents blows.
Cassandra: I’m thinking the waiting its more strategic than you suggest, bigger than East Ghouta.
Maybe all the ducks are not yet in a row?
To me “Russia playing for a bit more time” on this one is a matter of when someone is digging a hole for themselves throw them another spade.
As for ” Russia is adopting a posture, a bit like a boxer puts up his dukes to guard against his opponents blows”, Ever hear of rope-a-dope? If not look it up on your favourite search engine.
Russia will be playing for time for the next year or two.
Putin just announced a bunch of new weapons. These, I think were said to have completed testing. One was entering production. Russia needs time for these weapons to fully enter production and for the production results to get out to units in the field.
When these weapons are ready, the hundreds of billions of dollars that the USA has spend on missile defense and carrier groups will become useless. But only when the weapons are ready and deployed.
Thus, strategically, Russia will be playing for time for the next year or two.
It is most interesting to hear sensibility from the Russian diplomats. The wrote lines from the Nato nations representatives was interesting in its propaganda, they repeat the same accusation over and over.
Kudos to the Venezuelan representative, who 1) stood up in Russia’s defense against a backdrop of “solidarity” with the UK (I guess meaning whatever story they concoct we will pretend to believe) and 2) seems to be the only foreign diplomat in Moscow who bothered to learn Russian.
Serbian ambassador also spoke Russian.
When FARA is not far enough: US lawmakers invent new ways to brand RT as propaganda
“Concerned that Americans may be watching “foreign propaganda” (or something different than what is offered on the mainstream media menu) Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) introduced the Countering Foreign Propaganda Act.
In practice, it would force RT to do even more reporting to the US government than it currently does under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and will also force it to broadcast every 30 minutes a message saying it is funded by, and is “under editorial control” of, a foreign government. Apparently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will also be the arbiter of who is under editorial control and who is not, because the BBC and France 24 would not be forced to disclose the origins of their funding, according to Foreign Policy (FP) – presumably, because their messaging is simply accidentally, sort of, in line with that of the British and French governments respectively.
RT’s stance on a potential crackdown in the US was summarized by its editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan: “When the high from FARA is no longer hard enough, the representatives switch to even harder legislation.”
The US branch of RT came into the focus of the American mainstream public after the election of Donald Trump as president. The channel starred in a controversial report by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence, which alleged that RT’s coverage of American problems like fracking or the killings of black people by police amounted to infringing on US democratic institutions.”
Headline story on RT: “Peskov says ex-spy has zero value; no need to poison him.” Implication: “We only poison people of value.”
If I were the spokesperson of Russia, I wouldn’t even entertain the idea that Russia poisons people. If I were a pro Russian television network, I wouldn’t treat this story as anything but Milli Vanilli.
Still think Margie “the true liberal” is your friend?
I would like to make an observation regarding the name given by Briton and others of this lethal nerve agent, “Novichok”. It seems to have appeared out of thin air, or the imaginations of some. As has been pointed out, here in the conference, this was a fictional name used in a TV show in Briton.
The point is this, “Novichok” is perhaps as to what the “Khorasan Group” was in the waning days of the Obama regime. Do you remember the “Aboslute Terror!.com”(tm) that was surrounding this fictional group of terrorists as trumpeted by Obama himself? Similarities are not inconsequential in that a nefarious political goal is the point of the obfuscation and lies.
What is that goal? I can’t answer that question, but to speculate, I would guess that the oligarchs of the West have decided that the potential for nuclear annihilation is worth risking for unrestricted free market economic world domination in the short term.
the secret societies do not want Russia to lead the civilizational impulse of the future. They are trying to keep the control of the world in the hands of the Anglo – West – with the tool of Zionists doing the practical work –
“the secret societies do not want Russia to lead the civilizational impulse of the future.”
Nicely said, Ann.
Isn’t Novichok the capital of Binomo? Ask Miss Nikki.
Cause the translation is not berry powerful (tough job!), here is the Russian only link if anyone is interested! :)
I have not watched the whole video.Will watch later. It appears, UK is defining the ground and terrain to fight, and Russia is obviously following. In that way, Russia is always on the defensive of what UK is dictating..even if it is false…which it is…and that is the fight. In that way, no matter what facts are presented (which is what Russia is doing) Russia will always start from what they are accused of. Right there, UK is choosing what Russian reaction would be. Cut it short, Russia must realise that this is the new way to fight now. It cannot rely on facts and international laws and conventions alone as a defence..its not enough…like the way it is doing now. It must quickly turn the situation around and determine the space to fight and how UK is to fight this…of course without going to war.
A very good point, well made.
I’ve learned myself that conforming to Marquis of Queensbury rules when engaged in a conflict with a street fighter can be somewhat counter-productive.
You cannot counter lies and medacity with an appeal to truth.
I wonder how these mouthpieces reading their government’s lines can truly sleep at night.
The mouthpieces were selected for their “mouthpiecing” positions because they do not have any dignity. They are an opportunist trash; the US/UKpsychopaths in charge have selected the scum according to the psychopath standards Add to that a heavy coaching by the ultimate scoundrels, the ziocons.
its heartbreaking watching this. It reminds me of the poaching of the great animals of Africa – Russia does everything right and just – and the shameful poachers use nothing honorable or decent in their wish to destroy. There has been nothing but dishonesty and untruth from Britain (and the west) in this whole affair – no one even knows where or how the victims of this ‘chemical attack’ are – and that there’s only be two victims – a chemical attack kills multiple people
I wonder if Noivchok was being made in that factory in East Ghouta
Is there a list of the countries who attended?
I am curious as to why Russia responds. Is it just to get all there information on record.
There was reference to representatives from or of 150 countries…maybe that number was invited…..
I shall listen to the whole thing to get a better grasp of the context of certain speeches, remarks. TASS yesterday posted a report (http://tass.com/politics/995445) that represents their own summary: “Russian Foreign Ministry suggests US could have orchestrated Skripal saga.” While appreciating Russian humor, I dashed off a message to my German friends, as follows (translated):
Incredible! – No… I believe it. Watch the selected-emphasized sections below. The Russians have the knife in, and they are turning it, very slowly. Delicious!
“It is likely that this could have been orchestrated from across the pond. [Note that Yermakov – and he comes from the MoD, not the MFA – throws May’s “highly probable“ back into her face, but he provides indirect evidence, which May did not do. Note also that it is indeed “likely”. That has been my argument the whole time, except that I told you the Americans – the Trump-Americans — set a trap for May and she walked into it. Yermakov is saying the same thing: just watch and listen.]
„It is no secret to anyone that the UK’s closest partner is the only state officially keeping the largest arsenals of chemical weapons in the world.” [How true, but ist he USA theUK’s “closest partner”… really? Actually, since the British launched their anti-Trump cvampaign – with Christopher Steele / MI6 – the two have been at war with one another. Yermakov seems to play innocent on that point, even naive, but if the Americans set the trap, then the British set themselves up by believing that what May did was wha their closest partner wanted them to do. And now May is in deep sh**.]
Yermakov further,”is most likely a new grossly falsified and unlawful provocation.” Against Russia, yes, of course, fa false flag, and illegal. But also against the UK? That is left ambiguous.?
“It only has to be solved who stood behind this and which goals pursued.” – Yes, indeed, who was behind the false flag, and what were the aims? This hast o be solved, clarified. Yermakov poses these questions openly and round about, not limited to Russia. Do the British know who was behind the false flag, and what the aims were? Do they have any interest in finding out? Yermakov does not launch counter-accusations at the British.
„Only one thing is clear that Russia has absolutely no complicity in this at least for one simple reason: such a scheme is simply inadmissible and it is disadvantageous for us by all parameters.” Russia’s innocence is clear, and, in fact, the British know that themselves. It would be insulting to claim the British believe their own propaganda. And,
“At the same time, Great Britain has quite a different track record,” the senior diplomat said, adding that former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair had openly admitted his lies about the situation around Iraq.” Ah, yes, Blair lying about Irak WMD, but whether he was trapped into that lie or not, at least it is obvious he was doing it to justify actions that were not in the first place British actions, it was Bush‘s war.
„”One only has to guess who and for what purpose is now trying to plunge Great Britain into a new dirty and again losing venture for London from the very outset against Russia *this time,*” – “One” has to guess, and “one” can be Russian, some Russsian who guesses, or it can be a Brit. And “one” is going to “guess” about who is plunging Britain into a dirty and loosing venture against Russia. Wow! – Let’s unravel this. Russia has nothing to do with intelligence war-maneuvers of the Americans against England. If – that thatg is “highly likely” – the Americans set the trap, plunging Britain into a losing venture agaisn Russia, implied not to be in British interests, the Russians did not „collude“ in setting the trap. Leave Russia out of the game. England is being dragged into something. Yermakov has “empathy” for the British in this dilemma. The British may well think that they were dragged into the Irak-WMD charade and the war, so who is dragging Britain into a losing game „this time“?]
„”the British authorities are beginning to get ever more nervous” as “they have driven themselves into a deadlock” –[Really a pity, right? That really hurts, you are invited / or dragged onto the gang-plank, thinking you are doing the right thing, and their your “closest partner” steps off the plank and you plunge into the depths. Sure you get nervous, sure you see you brought onto yourself, you are in a blind-alley. – You can only do what Yermakov did if you have the upper-hand and you know it. Russia via Yermakov is not out for retaliation, Russia extends the open hand , Russia is merciful. Remember the scene in Schindler’s list, where a Nazi camp-commander was about to shoot a little boy because there were still stains in the bathtub the boy was supposed to have cleaned? And Schindler tells the Nazi: real power ist to forgive, and the Nazi, who thinks he is powerful and wans power, lays down his rifle. How merciful the Russias are is ytilll to come. ]
Moscow considers the Salisbury attack to be an act of terror against Russian citizens carried out on UK soil, he stressed. — – So Moscow wants access to the Skripals, Yulia in particular.
Now comes the icing on the cake, the knife begins to turn. “The senior Russian diplomat called on the British to put their hatred against Russia aside for a moment, as well as their “island way of thinking.” “I mean no offence, I think highly of the British diplomacy and this is the reason why I feel ashamed for you when I hear such things,” Yermakov added, stressing that in the past, Russian diplomats had learned much from their British colleagues and British experts and now they were calling them for dialogue.. [Of course the British hate the Russians, but don’t let that hate get in the way of properly assessing the British situation in this trap. If Russians are anything, they are professional and objective. Of course, Russian diplomats learned from British diplomas: they know double-dealing also, but Russians do it openly – open double dealing, and that is what Yermakov was doing the whole time. Why would Russia do that? – It’s simple: “to split Europe.” That is what the British accuse Russia of doing, but Russia is not doing it the way the British think, they are going to split Europe because the British have handed over the lever to do it, because the British are shaming themselves with their nonsense propaganda, and they know they are losing because it is so shameful. The British were tricked, Russia does not play tricks. The Russians win because they put truth on the table: if the British continue with their shameful behavior, they have no chance to play any leaves in Europe. They know it, that is why they are nervous, that is their own dead-end. Now, when Blair lied, dragging Britain into the Iraq war, it unleashed destruction, which does not bother the British as long as others are destroyed. But now they are on the receiving end, it is their own destruction which is at stake.
Re “at least it is obvious he was doing it to justify actions that were not in the first place British actions, it was Bush‘s war.”
Not so sure about that.
But in any case, Blair played a crucial role in making the war palatable to Americans.
So, he bears a very strong responsibility for the invasion and all of the horrifying consequences that have flowed from it.
wow – the British diplomat in the audience has a brutal speech – well written – its so hard to defend oneselve against untruth – when its calculated – at 53:55
It is foolish to believe that explanation will bring to your side those who are implacably oriented against you because they take it as a sign of weakness.
“A military grade, novichok, nerve agent developed by Russia”.
So they didn’t make then ? ‘Developing’ isn’t making, just in case your education didn’t cover this rather unsubtle distinction.
“Barrage of distortion and disinformation” Have you looked in the mirror of late ??
By the same logic, the world should bomb Sweden everytime a terrorist sets off a bomb. After all, since a Swede named Noble developled TNT, then every terrorist bomb can be described as “being of a type developed by Sweden.”
What I would do in place of the RF.
-Invite all foreign mission presently in Moscow
-politely separate the ones making the accusations into separate qubicles
-gently administer the various agents(chemical/human specialists) I have in my inventory to these qubicles and point out the effects of each compound to the participating dignitaries
-finally point out, that if the RF was to mort this traitor skripal, one of those demonstrated methods would have been used.
-give a magnificent, state sponsored and televised funeral to all the demised representatives as martyrs to world peace/heroes of the RF, parading their gaskets on Red Square slung to the barrels of the appropriate number of Armatas, invite grieving relatives to the parade , and provide them with full compensation packages.
Then, maybe then, they would pick up their ears…mabbe not, but that’s what is needed.
I think the UK representative went a bit off-script when she said “Russia produced” – the official script is “Russian developed”. I suspect that she may get a reprimand for that.
With this baseless accusation Against Russia, he UK has exposed itself to the ridiculous; but, they knew what they were doing.
The point is that the UK has no way out of the mess they are in. The UK is finished. The game is over. This has become even more apparent, now, as they would not have made such a disastrous accusation against Russia, one that has completely exposed them as a liars, if they had any other alternative. Yes, in a way, they succeeded – everybody is talking about it! But, at what cost!? They destroyed their own credibility and became the clowns of the court.
The UK is in such a mess that The Independent this morning reported that the new blue English passport – ‘an icon of British identity’, as they say in the Parliament -, which will replace the currently red European Union passport, will be made in the EU – in France! Why in France? Don’t they know how to make them here? Can’t they do it here? Is it too expensive to do it here?
The UK is in free fall… It has become a joke.
The anger and righteous disgust by the chief RF MFA spokesman at around 1:45 from recall (I did just skip to snippets – but got stopped there) is worth seeing. He talks of the Malaysian Boeing downed in Ukraine to the US rep in audience, pointing out US knows exactly what happened because of its satellites directly overhead, and says something I’d never heard – repeated it a couple of times at least – again in accusatory disgust – that the first accusations Russia shot down the plane came BEFORE the plane was hit!
This is true, the plane was still flying when the first accusations were made. The fact that it hit the ground moments later belies the lies that Opolchensya and/or Russia did it. The plane was not hit by a missile, there are entry and exit aircraft cannon holes in the left cockpit outer skin. I have no doubts that the photos of that damning piece of evidence are long gone but not to worry, I’m sure someone has them.
I have been trying to imagine Lenin and Stalin working through this ‘diplomatic process’.
It’s difficult !
How times have changed.
One the one hand I am amazed, on the other hand, not. Has anyone listened to the full session or read the TASS release? (http://tass.com/politics/995445) If not, please do so, and show some of what the Russians call “respect,” which means just listen carefully.
I do not wish to offend, as the Russian “senior diplomat” said, but I am ashamed to hear such baseless gossip as “It appears, UK is defining the ground and terrain to fight, and Russia is obviously following” or “You cannot counter lies and medacity with an appeal to truth” (cited examples being by no means exhasutive).
Do you realize, have you registered the *fact* that the Russians said “Russian Foreign Ministry suggests US could have orchestrated Skripal saga”?, which a load of backup to that suggesion.
“The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it.
They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous”.
– Joseph Goebbels
Well, he was right about that. Wasn’t he?
Obviously the War party feels so powerful that thy do not bother being naked to the open eye of any observer.
Reminds me to the 9/11 crime success story and a quote from Cambridge Analytica:
“It’s no good to fight an election campaign on the facts, because actually it’s all about emotions.”
Wrong. Not only is it not obvious, it is dead wrong. The War Party is feeling washed up.
I very interesting and instructive article on that point jsut came in today: https://breakingdefense.com/2018/03/the-end-of-the-american-way-of-war-the-cold-war-really-is-over/?utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=61551330&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8gYKdhkBU19f591G-TT6EWdh9IYXAOoAHDYAQ0YjQj5DusakhmLHs1kJsitH6VJPH8E0sKCJfami-LloZ0Tom-1ZT2FA&_hsmi=61551330, The End Of The American Way of War; The Cold War Really Is Over.
The West has been poisoned with a highly military nuclear ZIOshock.
They will not make it.
Reality mimics Propaganda-Art: British TV show “softens” up the minds of the Proles :
The timeline for the attack in/on Syria is in the hands of the US deep state and is subject to factional differences and group command structures. ( i.e. CIA-Centcom turf jocking) as well as the sign off by Israel.
The Russian military discussion linking the UK neocon manipulation of chemical weapons and gas in Syria to the terrorist attack on the Russian citizens on English soil was to the point. Also well said was the warning that ISIL has Chlorine, mustard gas as documented by the OPCW which should be even more worrisome to the Brits.
As for the American statement– I was hoping against hope that the Russian reply to all the “D” words strung together would be, ” Your reply is typically ‘Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest’ but then that would be how another American would respond to the total non diplomatic, insults flung by some junior Dept of State hack. But please note how the US reply carefully included UK, EU and NATO.
The French statement was short but , oh, so stiletto sneaky. The German one was as confused as the whole state of that political nation– If Vladimir Yermakov couldn’t quite figure out what they were saying, neither could I. Maybe the thrust of it was—How will you respond to all these insults?
And the Brits—they just doubled down and even upped the ante by accusing Russia of illegal restart of a chemical weapons program. Hello? what happened to Teresa May’s initial leaving of a open door by her statement that maybe it was just careless monitoring of a dangerous substance that escaped across borders
somehow. And It is not that UK elites are coming from an island mind set but rather from a frustrated sense of” Brittania Rules the Waves “arrogance. Heck! They can’t even rule Donald Trump!
I watched it all. The main take-away I am left with is that the UK (and the “west”) is completely naked and exposed. The Russians on the other hand act and speak with amazing calm and professional attitude, obviously they assess the situation very seriously.
It was a truly frightening display of madness from the UK representative, with the “solidarity” from US, France, Sweden etc. being equally surreal. These people are truly stupid in the extreme. There can be no other logic drawn from this display other than the “west” really wants nuclear war with Russia. As a Norwegian in the “west” I am ashamed to be associated with such criminals, and would like to express my apology to the Russian people.
Listened to this brilliant exercice by Russian officials. Having no expertise whatsoever in international relations (but having some basic understanding of diplomacy, i remember a few discussions with some of my relatives who were diplomats of an arab nation) i was nonetheless shocked by the language and tone used by these NATO envoys (are they diplomats? When was the last time the State Dept or Le Quay D’Orsay trained real diplomats?) specialy the British and US representatives to this meeting. Even my cynical mind was caught by surprise, hearing such a primitive language appropriate for a NYT (or The Guardian, or Le Monde) editorial, not for such a venue, in such a dangerous context. Weapons factories in Russia better work 24/7, these fools in London are drones…
Yes, this was mostly a waste of time. We need to see the “aide memoire”, the document laying out what Russian believes are the facts of the case.
Theresa May’s accusation: “Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country. Or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others…There are no alternative explanations”
Russian MFA response: “Either the British authorities are unable to ensure protection against such terrorist attacks on their territory, or they were directly or indirectly involved in the preparation of this attack on a Russian citizen. There is no other alternative”
Touche! – Love it
This doesn’t look like Russia on the defensive or playing too nice to me. Russia is definitely on the offensive here, but let’s remember the scale of this thing. This is a relatively minor matter (which the UK has blown up to potentially UNSC proportions). Russia is only responding to what has gone forward so far. Nobody has sunk a ship or invaded a territory.
This is not saber-rattling, this is only diplomacy, so far. This is a fairly unusual action, is it not? The last time I saw many diplomats arrayed before the Russians was when Putin accepted the diplomatic credentials of many new ambassadors, right after Turkey shot down their plane. If I recall correctly.
The Russians say they feel ashamed for the British diplomats, from whom they once learned so much, and who have now sunk so low. One day some diplomats may write in their memoirs an expression of their own shame during this episode.
The British are either weak or evil, say the Russians, with no other alternative possible. Either way they’re beyond the pale. Anyone who thinks this is just words is not at risk of suffering the consequences of Russian anger. If I were the UK I would have some trepidation as to the future.
As for the thought that Russia is being soft or not making a strong enough response: Russia is simply laying the legal framework for the world to see. If you do a thing to Russia, this is the mirror result. These are the consequences. But if Russia chooses or is forced to make a further action of some kind, it will act on a firm foundation of its legal right to do so.
And we have seen that Russian diplomacy and negotiation alone have the power to move real things in the real world, that many armchair observers have been sure would require soldiers or missiles.
I have observed Russia standing up for international law, diplomacy, and the global institutions of order, for 4 years now, since the Maidan. And I have seen how nations around the world have come to loosen their bonds from the US, and realize that a different alliance is possible, and that law can be made to work in the world, especially where Russia can be the guarantor of security and fair play. So it’s good that Russia acts in perfect proportion to the true weight of an event.
We have all seen Russia act, economically, Geo-politically and in the last resort militarily. The diplomacy always comes first, but marches in complete accord with the other types of actions. And Russia knows how to wait, and never forgets.
Excellent comment, Grieved. I’m 82 minutes in thus far and I think this meeting is brilliant. To be impolitic about it, it appears the “leaders of the free world” are clearly insane, armed and dangerous, and every country is under pressure right now (some more so than others.) Russia creates a “safe space” ;-) where representatives of nations can begin to express openly the circumstances they are facing in whatever language they choose. It’s brilliant. As an outsider, the glaring clash between the UK nation-state and the Russian Federation is so apparent. But that’s European (or Eurasian?) politics, isn’t it? History is being made!
What struck me about this presentation is that Russia is calling for a transparent, out-in-the-open, fact-based, professional investigation of what happened and Britain and its allies are not showing any interest. The nature of the investigation seems to be what is being negotiated.
Anyway, Russia is still not explaining when they will stop beating their wife.