Embassy of
the Russian Federation
in the Republic of South Africa

Chancery
tel: +2712 362-1337
fax: +2712 362-0116
ruspospr@mweb.co.za

Consular Section
tel: +2712 362-7116
fax: +2712 362-7090
pretoria@dks.ru

   RUS

updated 2:24 PM UTC, May 10, 2017

Foreign Ministry statement on the rapidly deteriorating situation in Donbass

The situation in Donbass has deteriorated sharply in recent days. Ukrainian troops continue to conduct offensive operations to seize positions held by self-defence forces, including in the suburbs of Donetsk. Heavy weapons, including heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, are being actively used to shell residential areas. According to Minsk Package of Measures of February 12, 2015, such weapons should long since have been withdrawn from the contact line. There are casualties and wounded among the civilian population. As a result of the shelling by Ukrainian troops, the Donetsk Filtration Station and the Avdeyevka Coke Chemical Plant have lost power. The lives of miners working in the mines are under threat.

We see southeastern Ukraine, which is already suffering from the economic blockade imposed by Kiev, again on the verge of a real humanitarian and environmental disaster.

All of this is a direct outcome of ongoing violations by Ukraine of its obligations under the Minsk agreements, which no one in Kiev intends to act on. Instead of efforts to achieve sustainable peace, the Ukrainian authorities are trying hard to achieve a military solution to the conflict. Everyone should remember what kind of outcome this kind of reckless behaviour has led to on previous occasions.

Strangely enough, every escalation of the situation in Donbass comes at a time when the Ukrainian leadership is away on a foreign trip. Clearly, this is an attempt to keep the crisis provoked by Kiev on the international agenda.

We urge the Ukrainian authorities to immediately put an end to the armed provocations in Donbass, comply with existing ceasefire agreements and begin, at long last, to responsibly fulfil all the provisions of the Minsk Package of Measures, including those relating to the political aspects of the existing problems.

We expect Ukraine’s partners to exert the necessary influence on Kiev to put an end to these efforts to turn the tables in Donbass and sink the Minsk agreements.

We expect a quick response on the part of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine in order to de-escalate the situation as soon as possible.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a news conference on the results of Russian diplomacy in 2016, Moscow January 17, 2017

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Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, happy New Year and best wishes on all holidays.

The past leap year was not easy. In addition to the troubles that usually befall leap years, some man-made events also took place which were not conducive to strengthening international security.

Russia’s vision of its goals in the international arena is described in detail in the country’s new Foreign Policy Concept that was approved in November by President Vladimir Putin. I am sure that all those who are interested in this sphere of our country’s activity have familiarised themselves with it. International issues were very prominent at President Putin’s news conference (December 23, 2016), as well as in a number of his other statements. I will therefore not lay out our vision of the year’s results. We’ll do better to leave more time for questions and answers.

I will only say that last year did not see any reduction in threats. I am referring above all to the threat of international terrorism, which continued doing its dirty business. It has affected residents of cities in Europe, the Middle East and other countries. As a result of a heinous terrorist attack, we lost our ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov. Terrorism has become a genuinely systemic problem. The fact that the international community is still unable to effectively rally and form what President Vladimir Putin described last year at the UN as a united, universal antiterrorist front certainly arouses serious concern and regret.

Why is this happening? There are probably a lot of reasons. We see that pooling efforts to fight terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking and many other threats is becoming a systemic problem that is compounded by basic differences between the objective trend toward the formation of a polycentric world, on the one hand, and the actions of those trying to hold on to the outdated concept of unipolarity, on the other hand. I am referring to the domination not even so much of one state as one group of states with their own system of values. More and more we are running up against a conflict that has been growing over the past several years and that has asserted itself in a very naked form at the current stage. I’m referring to the divide between what underlies the foreign policy of a particular country – pragmatism, correctly understood national interests – versus messianism, the aspiration to disseminate values across the world, what’s more, according to the interpretation that has evolved and developed within this group of states.

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Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation

FOREIGN POLICY CONCEPT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Approved by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on November 30, 2016

I. General provisions

1.     This Concept sets forth a system of views on the basic principles, priority areas, goals and objectives of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation.

2.     This Concept is based on the Constitution of the Russian Federation, generally recognised principles and rules of international law, international treaties of the Russian Federation, federal laws, Executive Order of the President of the Russian Federation No. 605 of May 7, 2012 On Measures to Implement the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation, the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation, the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, statutes and regulations of the Russian Federation regarding the foreign policy activities of federal authorities, as well as other applicable legal acts of the Russian Federation.

3.     With a view to upholding the national interests of the Russian Federation and achieving its strategic national priorities, the state’s foreign policy activities shall be aimed at accomplishing the following main objectives:

a)     ensure national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and strengthen the rule of law and democratic institutions;

b)    create a favourable external environment that allows Russia’s economy to grow steadily and become more competitive and promotes technological modernisation as well as rising standards of living and quality of life for its population;

c)     consolidate the Russian Federation’s position as a centre of influence in today’s world;

d)    strengthen Russia’s position in global economic relations and prevent any and all discrimination against Russian goods, services and investments, using the options afforded by international and regional economic and financial organisations;

e)     continue promoting efforts to strengthen international peace and ensure global security and stability with a view to establishing a fair and democratic international system that addresses international issues on the basis of collective decision-making, the supremacy of international law, primarily the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations (the UN Charter), as well as equal, partnership relations among states, with the central and coordinating role played by the United Nations (UN) as the key organisation in charge of regulating international relations.

f)     pursue neighbourly relations with adjacent states, assist them in eliminating existing hotbeds of tension and conflicts on their territory and prevent the emergence of new ones;

g)     promote, within bilateral and multilateral frameworks, mutually beneficial and equal partnerships with foreign countries, interstate associations, international organisations and as part of forums, guided by the principles of independence and sovereignty, pragmatism, transparency, predictability, a multidirectional approach and the commitment to pursue national priorities on a non-confrontational basis; expand international cooperation on a non-discriminatory basis; facilitate the emergence of network alliances and Russia’s proactive participation in them;

h)    ensure comprehensive, effective protection of the rights and legitimate interests of Russian citizens and compatriots residing abroad, including within various international frameworks;

i) strengthen Russia’s role in international culture; promote and consolidate the position of the Russian language in the world; raise global awareness of Russia’s cultural achievements and national historical legacy, the cultural identity of the peoples of Russia, and Russian education and research; consolidate the Russian-speaking diaspora;

j) bolster the standing of Russian mass media and communication tools in the global information space and convey Russia’s perspective on international process to the wider international community;

k) facilitate the development of constructive dialogue and partnership with a view to promoting harmony and mutual enrichment among various cultures and civilisations.

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Changing World and New Old Threats, Article by Ambassador Mikhail Petrakov

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2016 has been a very troublesome year with threats and challenges sprouting through the cracks of the shaping world order marking the importance of long overdue changes to the approaches on global arena. It was rich in happenings and outcomes, gave plenty of food for thought and also highlighted shifts in world politics. It showed the correctness of Russia’s analysis of the situation.

As «The Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation» adopted by President Vladimir Putin on 30 November 2016 stipulates, the current stage of the world development is characterized by profound changes, the essence of which is the establishment of a polycentric system of international relations with its increasingly more complex nature. New centres of economic and political influence appear as a direct consequence of globalization. Thus nowadays the global power and development potential is highly dispersed and is shifting to new developing regions. The West’s ability to dominate world economy and politics continues to diminish while other world cultures and civilizations as well as various state-development models become more prominent.

At the same time conflicts of interests caused by uneven development of world regions, growing gap in prosperity between the states, tougher competition for strategic resources, markets and control over vital transportation routes are becoming increasingly more intense. Global competition not only covers areas of human, technological and scientific potential, but takes place on a civilizational level, whereby various values and models of development compete against each other. Under these circumstances, imposing one's own hierarchy of values can only provoke a rise of xenophobia, intolerance and tensions in international relations leading eventually to chaos in world affairs. It is a top priority for world politics to prevent clashes of civilizations and to intensify efforts to forge partnership of cultures and religions in order to ensure a harmonious development of mankind. Attempts of the Western countries to preserve their advantageous positions by dictating their point of view on international tendencies and imposing the policy of containment on rising powers end up in growing instability in international affairs as well as global and regional turbulence. Struggle for domination over the formulating key principles of the future international system has become the main trend in modern world development.

In current circumstances, when political, social and economic conflicts become more aggravated and social and economic instability increases, the meaning of factor of power constantly grows. Efforts to build up or modernize offensive potentials, to create and deploy new types of weapons erode the global security architecture based on international treaties and agreements on arms control.

It is quite obvious that existing military and political alliances cannot withstand all the modern challenges and threats. Attempts to build individual "oases of peace and security" are a futile exercise due to growing interdependence of states and peoples. That is why compliance with universal principles of equal and indivisible security in respect of the Euro-Atlantic, Eurasian, Asia-Pacific and African regions gains particular importance in the modern world.

World economy, shaped by financial and economic challenges, is characterized by universal slowing of economic growth rates, volatility of financial, goods and resources markets as well as fragmenting common economic space and establishment of regional substructures with competing tariff and non-tariff barriers. Thus regional integration and strengthening of regional reserve currencies gain particular importance for the international economic relations. Other crucial points include joint efforts to manage international economy, growing transparency of global financial and economic space, establishment of integrated, open and well-balanced trade, monetary and financial systems that will remain relevant through the globalization era.

One of the modern world’s most dangerous realia is the continuously increasing threat of international terrorism. The spread of extremist ideology and high activity of terrorist structures in a number of regions, the Middle East and North Africa first and foremost, were caused by systemic problems in the countries’ development against the backdrop of globalization as well as external interference, and lead to the destruction of traditional governance and security mechanisms. Imposing ideological values and recipes for modernizing political systems from the outside only aggravates the situation, amplifying negative counter-reactions of affected societies. These trends are being exploited by the extremists, who rely on a distorted interpretation of religious values, and call for using violence as a method to achieve their political goals.

The emergence of the Islamic State and other similar international terrorist organisations in the recent years have raised global terrorist threat to an entirely new level. It is clear as day that the only way to effectively fight this ‘disease’ is to form a broad international anti-terrorist coalition based on a sound legal foundation, effective and systemic cooperation of its members without any politicization and double standards, active use of the potential of civil society, mainly in preventing radical ideas from spreading.

Russia has consistently opposed terrorism in all its forms. We provide military-technical assistance to the Syrian government, help Syrians fight terrorists, and bring peace to their war-torn land. Our Aerospace Forces' operation in Syria, which is being conducted at the official request of the UN member state’s legitimate authorities, have already resulted in serious damage to the terrorists and their infrastructure. To ensure peace and security the terrorist hotbed in Syria must be eliminated.

At the same time, it is clear that military methods alone will not untie the Syrian knot. That is why we have been advocating for political and diplomatic resolution of the Syrian crisis since its outbreak. Our firm position is that the settlement can only be achieved through an inclusive intra-Syrian dialogue based on provisions of the Geneva Communique of 30 June 2012 and relevant UNSC resolutions. Attempts to impose an alien agenda on Syrians have already failed. The Syrians themselves, without any outside interference, should agree on their own future.

The Syrian situation serves as an illustration of the intricacy and severity of the challenges the world is facing these days. Sadly, it is not a one of a kind issue. The events in Syria, Iraq and Libya are striking and bloody examples of what happens when instead of uniting in the face of common threats, and gradually resolving problems, some parties start pushing their own agenda, interfering in internal affairs of states and exporting revolutions. We have witnessed how instead of bringing reforms, aggressive intervention rashly destroyed government institutions leaving a power vacuum, which was quickly filled with extremists and terrorists.

It is important to avoid such situations in the future, return to the core principles enshrined in the UN Charter, basing policies, like Russia does, on equality, mutual respect for each other’s interest and fostering collective efforts in tackling global and regional problems.

 

Mikhail Petrakov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of South Africa

Ambassador Mikhail Petrakov on the tragic death of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov

akarlov in memoriam

 

Mikhail Petrakov, Russian Ambassador tot he Republic fo South Africa:  Andrey Karlov was an outstanding diplomat. We both participated in the Collegium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, used to sit nearby. He was a true professional, who radiated confidence and reliability. My sincere condolences to his family and loved ones, it is a great loss for all Russian people.

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