Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, March 29, 2018

Thursday, 29 March 2018 13:02

Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali’s working visit to Russia


Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali will pay a working visit to Moscow on April 2 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

It is planned that the ministers will review the current state of Russia-Bangladesh relations, the prospects for promoting political dialogue and ties in trade, economic, cultural and other practical areas, as well as ways to improve the bilateral treaty and legal framework.

With regard to the international and regional agendas, the participants will focus specifically on expanding cooperation in international organisations, primarily the UN and its specialised agencies.


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to participate in the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security


On April 4-5, the Defence Ministry is holding the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security which is one of the most important political events of the year and a popular platform for professional discussion of the most pressing issues in this area. It is traditionally attended by high-ranking representatives of many states.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will deliver a report.


Sergey Lavrov’s upcoming meeting with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger


On April 5, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, who will be in Moscow to attend the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security, organised by the Russian Ministry of Defence.

During the talks, the officials will discuss current issues on the organisation’s agenda and ways to increase its effectiveness. Russia regards the OSCE as an important tool for building an indivisible security community in the Euro-Atlantic region based on equal dialogue and cooperation between all member states. We prioritise reducing tensions and restoring trust in order to overcome the current security crisis in Europe.

The officials are set to exchange their views on the role and contribution of the OSCE to settling the conflicts in Donbass, Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as to co-chairing the Geneva discussions on stability in the South Caucasus. They will also touch upon the organisation’s field missions in the Balkans and Central Asia.

The activities of the OSCE institutions such as the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), High Commissioner on National Minorities and Representative on Freedom of the Media, who unfortunately do not always act impartially and without prejudice, will also be an important subject of the talks.

We believe that the OSCE reform, which is the key factor to improving the organisation’s effectiveness and involvement, must aim to fix these shortcomings. The reform’s main goal is to develop an OSCE Charter and procedural rules for its executive agencies. Maintaining the organisation’s international character as well as the leading role of its directive agencies and strict compliance with the consensus rules when making decisions remains its absolute priority.

We hope that during the talks the officials will discuss ways to rectify the thematic, geographical and personnel imbalances in the organisation as well as to enhance transparency of its programme and finance sphere, including off-budget projects.


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to take part in the meeting of the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers


On April 6, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in a regular meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Minsk.

The ministers will discuss current issues on the international and regional agenda as well as prospects for enhancing multifaceted cooperation in the CIS format.

The participants are to sum up the results of implementing the 2017 plan of multi-level consultations between the CIS countries' foreign ministries and approve the next year’s plan. They are also expected to approve a number of documents in the law-enforcement, military, humanitarian and cultural areas aimed at expanding CIS ties.

Russia together with its Belarusian partners is planning to introduce a draft joint statement of the CIS foreign ministers affirming that it is unacceptable to undermine the principle of non-interference in the affairs of sovereign states for approval of the CIS countries as part of its work to promote foreign policy coordination.


Syria developments


The counter-terrorist operation in Eastern Ghouta is coming to an end. Only the city of Douma remains under the control of armed gangs; but a significant part of the civilian population was able to leave the city through an organised humanitarian corridor. With the assistance of the Russian military, negotiations are underway on the possibility of a peaceful transfer of control over the city to the government forces of Syria.

Unfortunately, these negotiations have repeatedly been interrupted by the radical militants, who advocate the continuation of hostilities, claiming that “help is near.” These are the real consequences of the hysteria raised in the West around Eastern Ghouta. Ongoing unfounded or fabricated accusations against the Syrian government, as well as Russia, of the indiscriminate use of force, the killing of civilians and other lies, allegedly imbued with concern for the fate of the civilian population, in fact create obstacles to negotiations, reaching decisions and saving human lives.                                               

Let me remind you that with the direct involvement of Russian military, more than 128,000 people were withdrawn from the zone of the counter-terrorist operation in Eastern Ghouta. At the same time, militants with families were given the opportunity to move to territories beyond Syria's lawful authorities’ control in the de-escalation zone in Idlib Province.

In the process of this mass exodus, there were no violations of international humanitarian law, according to the UN experts that monitored the process. Syrian citizens who left their homes were placed in temporary centres and provided with food and basic necessities. The Russian military transferred 427 tonnes of humanitarian aid – food, water, bedding, to people in need, providing real humanitarian access to the affected population, as stated in UN Security Council Resolution 2401.

The withdrawal of civilians and the evacuation of militants were carried out absolutely transparently – in front of the world. The Russian Defence Ministry’s website offers live broadcasts from video cameras located in Eastern Ghouta. In real time, you can see the movement of columns of militants towards the province of Idlib. Simultaneously, there are broadcasts from CCTV cameras installed at the checkpoints of Muhayam al-Wafedin and Arbin.        

We expect that the UN agencies that literally rushed to help people in Eastern Ghouta, when it was under the control of criminals and terrorists, will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the affected population of this suburb of the Syrian capital with the same enthusiasm after its liberation.

Every day, new facts and eyewitness accounts appear, forming an appalling picture of life in Eastern Ghouta under the rule of militants: bloody showdowns among the terrorists, violence against civilians, stolen humanitarian aid, and profiteering of medicines. Like in Aleppo, cashes of food and medicines were found in tunnels where the terrorists took refuge in Eastern Ghouta. By the way, these tunnels were built with the forced labour of captives that supported the Syrian government.

The current situation in Syria urgently requires coordinated international efforts to promote peace, including providing humanitarian assistance.

We again call on the international community to fulfill its duty and provide effective assistance to the affected population of Syria.

We are still concerned about reports that the United States and its allies are consolidating their illegal military presence in Syria’s sovereign territory. In particular, heavy vehicles are coming to the area arbitrarily established by the Americans around the town of Al-Tanf in the southeast of the country. The Damascus-Baghdad highway remains blocked.

Russia is doing its best to achieve the earliest possible political settlement in Syria based on international law. Today, on March 29, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura. They will discuss the entire range of issues to restore peace and stability in Syria, including the establishment and operation of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva in accordance with the decisions of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, held in Sochi on January 30 this year.


Russia’s proposals regarding cooperation in investigating the Skripal case that remained without response


Russia has repeatedly addressed the British authorities through official channels with a proposal to establish cooperation in investigating the alleged poisoning of Russian citizens, as well as with requests to provide information on their condition and, of course, the circumstances of the incident. The corresponding notes were sent via the Russian Embassy in London on March 6, 13, 14 and 22.

Unfortunately, in response to Russia’s legitimate demands and constructive proposals seeking to establish cooperation, Britain has remained silent or is simply responding incompetently. The issue is not about factual or even spelling mistakes. It is as if children wrote them. It’s about incomprehensibly scribbled notes that are difficult to read or figure out what they are specifically about. The note to Ambassador of Russia to the United Kingdom Alexander Yakovenko, which was supposed to contain a response about the condition of the Skripal family, contains information about the health of the Ambassador himself. To reiterate, this is not about factual error, but either a deliberate desire to introduce a note of absurdity in this situation or the total incompetence of the British authorities.

We have witnessed Russian representatives being denied access to injured Russian citizens. Thus, the United Kingdom, openly and without scruples, is breaking international legal provisions, in particular, the Consular Convention between the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of 1968. Notably, Article 36 of this document contains provisions that “a) a consular officer shall be entitled within the consular district to communicate with, interview and advise a national of the sending State and may render him every assistance including, where necessary, arranging for aid and advice in legal matters”  and “b) No restriction shall be placed by the receiving State upon the access of a national of the sending State to the consulate or upon communication by him with the consulate.” This text was written in 1968 which can be seen from the language. To reiterate, this document remains valid. As we can see and assume, Britain, in fact, is deliberately demonstrating legal nihilism and is not doing so for the first time.

Of course, the fact that mysterious poisonings and deaths occur regularly on the territory of this particular state, and its authorities traditionally accuse outsiders of committing them while making ample use of propaganda and, on top of everything, they classify investigations, also leads to certain conclusions. On the one hand, political decisions rather than findings and results of investigations and court hearings are made available to the general public and, on the other hand, the public is not provided with any actual evidence but rather obscure pictures, as were published in the media the other day. As a result, Britain has left behind a grave trail of unsolved deaths of Russian citizens and British subjects.

Why go far? Here’s an example. Remember the mysterious death of scientist David Kelly? It was he who exposed the lies of London about the alleged presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

We will soon compile and publish on the website of the Russian Embassy to the UK a list of questions that we have asked the British side. These questions were sent through official channels and were repeatedly asked by Russian Ambassador in London Alexander Yakovenko. London constantly accuses us of not providing information and not proving our innocence. I would like to note that as soon as we saw, heard and read in the media about the so-called Skripal case and learned the facts (we cannot even state that these are facts), which were published in the media, we promptly tried to contact Britain which shunned all contact with the Russian Embassy. Verbal and written requests for information, as well as telephone conversations, which the Russian Embassy in London immediately resorted to, failed to bring even basic information about the incident.

We were forced to learn from the media the date and the time of the incident, the number of people involved in it, and the level of damage to their health.

We have certainly seen and continue to observe the “performance” that was staged and continues to be played out by British politicians for their political purposes and for the political establishment of their country. However, let’s face it, how can one possibly get any information when Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, or Prime Minister Theresa May will not even talk with Russia’s representatives and only make catchy political statements in their parliament?


Insinuations around the Salisbury incident


As I said, the media published the same materials that were presented at the closed (closed to Russian representatives) briefing at the UK Embassy in Moscow. I would like to emphasise again that this is yet further evidence that Britain is deliberately excluding Russia from the list of states that were given at least some information.

Russian representatives were not invited or admitted to the briefing at the UK Embassy.

Indicatively, “the charges” that made up the backbone of this presentation were the same accusations that are not based on any real facts or evidence. But the most interesting point is that the number of grievances expressed by our British colleagues against the Russian Federation is growing at a rapid rate. I would like to show you some slides.

On March 14, propaganda slides from the Foreign Office quoted just eight facts of so-called “Russian state aggression.” Let me repeat that this was published by the UK Foreign Office on March 14. There were eight items on which Britain had grievances against the Russian Federation. The materials disseminated at the closed briefing in Moscow contained 12 facts. Only 10 days passed between the two publications. It’s obvious inconsistence. What should we talk about? What should we believe and how do we proceed? We do not even analyse the absurdity of these accusations. We are pointing out the quality of the presented information. Apparently, additional accusations against Russia in a historical perspective appeared after consultations with an “elder brother.”

The wording in the accusations has also changed. Take Russia’s so-called “aggression” against Georgia in August of 2008. On March 14, Russia was accused of not respecting Georgia’s territorial integrity whereas the presentation slides published recently are now accusing Russia of “invading Georgia.”

Especially perplexing is the accusation against Russia of hacking into the German Bundestag in 2015 that Britain added to its growing list of grievances. Colleagues, we would like to remind you that we broke into the Bundestag only once, in 1945 while liberating Berlin from the Nazi scourge, and at that time it was called the Reichstag.

As for the so-called “Lisa’s case” and some disinformation campaign against Germany, we would like to emphasise that this issue was resolved by Moscow and Berlin in a bilateral format. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier discussed the matter during their talks. This was mentioned on the record and officially. As distinct from Britain, Germany conducted a serious investigation of this case when the information appeared. I would like to remind those who were involved in compiling all this nonsense that official representatives from the Russian and German foreign ministries made relevant statements after “Lisa’s case” went through an investigation and the court handed down a verdict on a man who was found guilty. This was the end of this case.

So why are you involved now in classic disinformation? Let me recall once again that there was a guilty verdict in the German court against a defendant – he actually committed crimes that were thoroughly investigated by German law enforcement.

In general, it is of course surprising that these materials were presented as highly convincing evidence of Russia’s responsibility for the incident in Salisbury. The painted pictures are certainly creative in building an argument and an evidence-based case.

After we paid attention to the publication of these materials in the media, the British Foreign Office thanked us in its twitter. Can you imagine? Nobody replied to four diplomatic notes. Nobody informed us about the condition of the Russian citizens. We have not been granted any information on the grounds that they do not deem it necessary to communicate with Russian representatives. But we were thanked in the twitter! This is the height of cynicism.

So you thanked us – fine. And we will thank you, the British Foreign Office, for admitting that these were the materials you distributed at the closed briefing at the UK Embassy for the ambassadors accredited in Moscow. I personally doubted that you would do this, but you did. You admitted that this was the evidence-based case about which US Ambassador Jon Huntsman spoke in Moscow. I doubt that you did this consciously, like everything you do, all the mistakes you make. I think that you thanked us and admitted that you considered these pictures “convincing evidence” simply by mistake. But you did this and it will remain in your history forever.

Now that the world has seen this “convincing evidence,” the propaganda machine, anonymous sources, experts and fake accounts in social media began distributing information that the British Ambassador to Russia presented the main and, this time, indisputable evidence at his briefing.

I am even afraid to assume what this indisputable evidence of Russia’s guilt is if our British colleagues were afraid to quote it in the presence of a Russian representative, who, of course, was not admitted or invited to the briefing. Naturally, what we are witnessing now is absolute and total fake on a global level.

I would like to say that the propaganda machine is already working at full steam. Yesterday radio stations sponsored by US tax payers gave the floor to experts from analytical centres that are also funded by US taxpayers. They were vying with each other to prove that there is no need to assess this evidence seriously because it is clear as it is.

One of these experts (let me repeat that he spoke in the US media that is also funded by American money) pondered the following question: Why do we need evidence if so many countries have already supported Britain? He then asked: Do you really think that the whole world consists of idiots whereas only Russia is smart? Note that these words were not uttered by the Russian Foreign Ministry but by an expert from an American analytical centre. You know, such things do happen, and this was the case with Iraq when our Western partners – Washington and London – showed a test-tube to the world public. And the whole world believed them because they showed it in the UN Security Council.

Ten years have passed since then and everyone understands (forgive me for quoting the expert from the Carnegie Foundation) that they were “the idiots.” Later, they apologized for this for a long time but it is impossible to bring the dead back to life.


British officials at the Olympic Games in Nazi Germany in 1936


On March 14, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that officials and members of the Royal Family would not attend the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.    

On March 21, answering questions from members of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson agreed with a suggestion that the upcoming FIFA World Cup Russia was comparable to the 1936 Olympic Games in the Third Reich. “I think that your characterisation of what is going to happen in Moscow, the World Cup, at all the venues – yes, I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right,” said Johnson, commenting on the statement. 

Mr Johnson, what are you talking about? Let us look into this.

First, what are you talking about – is it sport? If you are talking about sport and the organisation of international sporting events, including the Olympic Games, you should admit that the International Olympic Committee at the time officially appreciated the high level at which those Olympic Games were prepared and held.

We looked into the archives and retrieved messages from Soviet Ambassador Yakov Surits, who reported to Moscow that he agreed with the assessment of the International Olympic Committee regarding the order and the competent organisation of the Olympic Games.   

Second, might British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have meant things other than sport and the organisation of a sporting event? What was he talking about? One is likely to assume that he was talking about the political situation in Germany at the time and how the British political class saw it.  We would like to remind Boris Johnson and all Britons, for that matter, of who officially represented Britain at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. We managed to find an official brochure, “Guests of Honour at the XI Olympic Games,” which was published in Germany in 1936. I am holding it in my hand. Frankly, I feel disgust whenever I have to hold anything relating to that period, events and, even more, political situation – it is a kind of “greeting” from the past. However, I had to read it.  

So, who represented Britain at the 1936 Olympic Games?

1. Lord Portal of Laverstoke, Chairperson of the British Olympic Association;

2. Captain Evan Hunter, O.B.E., Secretary of the British Olympic Association;

Britain’s representatives at the International Olympic Committee:

1. Lord Aberdare

2. Lord Burghley, Marquess of Exeter

3. Sir Noel Curtis Bennett;

International Sporting Federations:

1. William Jones, Secretary of the International Basketball Federation;

2. Sir William P. Burton, President of the International Yacht Racing Union;

3. Major Heckstall Smith, Secretary of the International Yacht Racing Union.

This means that the above persons attended official events during the Olympic Games, including the opening ceremony, attended stadiums and maintained contact with local authorities in Berlin in 1936.

Unlike the representatives of the diplomatic corps, who were accredited in Germany at the time and whose responsibility it was to attend the sporting events, the members of the British establishment mentioned in the brochure arrived in Germany of their own free will. I would like to emphasise again that they came to Adolf Hitler in Berlin in 1936 as members of the British establishment, the House of Lords, aristocrats.    

I would like to remind you that Germany had already been “infected” with its well-known ideology by 1936. I will not talk about the political atmosphere that prevailed then. But I would like to remind you that the system of concentration camps for the opponents of the Nazi regime, asocials, convicts and other categories of citizens had already been created by that time and the so-called “Nuremberg” race laws had been enacted.

Importantly, until 1952, when Finland hosted the Summer Olympics, the Soviet Union did not take part in the Olympic Games. The USSR also ignored the Olympic Games in Berlin. There were a number of political and ideological reasons why Soviet athletes did not take part in the Olympic Games at the time. One reason for this was that the International Olympic Committee refused to establish direct contact [with the Soviet Union] but it appreciated the organisation of the Olympic Games in Berlin. The USSR National Olympic Committee was established on April 23, 1951. I will not delve deeply into the history of these events, you can do it yourself.     

Mr Johnson, do you not find it shameful and, as you like to say, “emetic” that so many British officials attended the opening ceremony of the 1936 Olympic Games? What were all those respectable British sporting functionaries and lords doing as Hitler’s guests? Tell your countrymen about this.


UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s statement in connection with the so-called “Skripals affair”


UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, speaking on March 28, compared the so-called “Skripals affair” with actions described in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment.

“It’s rather like the beginning of Crime and Punishment in the sense that we are all confident of the culprit – and the only question is whether he will confess or be caught,” Boris Johnson said in his speech published on the official website of the UK Foreign Office.

Mr Johnson, have you ever read Crime and Punishment to the end or you stopped reading at the beginning? Since you evoked Fyodor Dostoyevsky, then let us turn to the image and thoughts of magistrate (prosecutor) Porfiry Petrovich, who, unlike you, investigated the murder of a pawnbroker and her sister in a very meticulous and scrupulous way. We, unlike, you, have read Dostoyevsky and we love him and know him.

“From a hundred rabbits you can’t make a horse, a hundred suspicions don’t make a proof, as the English proverb says, but that’s only from the rational point of view – you can’t help being partial for after all a lawyer is only human.”

This was a citation from Dostoyevsky translated into English especially for Boris Johnson: “From a hundred rabbits you can’t make a horse, a hundred suspicions don’t make a proof.” Boris, read Dostoyevsky. It will be good for you.

 “But you will ask me: Supposing you are certain of your proofs? Goodness me, batyushka! you know, perhaps as well as I do, what proofs are – half one’s time, proofs may be taken either way; and I, a magistrate, am, after all, only a man liable to error. Now, what I want is to give to my investigation the precision of a mathematical demonstration – I want my conclusions to be as plain, as indisputable, as that twice two are four.” That is also from Dostoyevsky – the words of Porfiry Petrovich.

At this point, let me remind you again that the UK, in defiance of all international standards, quite hastily accused Russia of involvement in a poisoning without any investigation or proofs. Up to now, London has not presented any evidence, nor has it given any concrete picture of what happened. If you have any specific facts, present them.

We have heard multiple accusations against Russia of poisoning its own citizens, of using a toxic combat agent; a large-scale political and media campaign was unleashed. I would like to stress again that Russia has nothing to do with this incident and that it has not received any official information from London.

While drawing literary parallels, a better candidate for the role of Rodion Raskolnikov is former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who made a decision to launch an aggression against Iraq in 2003 on the pretext that it had weapons of mass destruction. And everyone knew that Iraq had no such weapons. Later, Tony Blair apologised, repented and confessed. Let me remind you what Mr Blair said: “I will take full responsibility for any mistakes – without exception or excuse. I will express my profound regret at the loss of life [during the operation in Iraq] … I will pay tribute to our Armed Forces.”   

Mr Johnson, will you have the strength and the courage to repent for having no proof whatsoever of Russia’s alleged involvement in the poisoning that took place on British territory?


Links between the scientific potential of the Czech Republic in chemical research and development and the expulsion of Russian diplomats


We noted a large number of materials in the Russian and Czech media which, among other things, touch on expelling our diplomats from the Czech Republic. The statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry that mentioned the Czech Republic among those countries that might have produced chemical poisoning agent Novichok is quoted as the reason for that. There were a lot of insinuations and official statements on the subject.

Given the heightened interest in this subject and, in general, in the Skripal affair, I would like to note again that a memo clarifying the actual situation in the “Skripal case” posted on the official website of the Russian Foreign Ministry on March 21, says the following: “Clarifications are due as to why Russia was absolutely unfoundedly accused of being the perpetrator in the Skripal case at a time where activities under the conventional Western name Novichok were conducted in the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden and the Czech Republic. The achievements of these countries in creating new toxic agents of this type are mentioned in more than 200 open sources from NATO countries.” This is our official position. They began to draw conclusions about the culprits. There were no accusations, as we stated in this room. There were facts. We were asked questions, including through the media, about materials in open sources. Let's figure out what we are talking about specifically. 

This is not a secret or a revelation. It is absolutely basic information for those who know the history of the Warsaw Treaty Organisation (WTO). For a long time, Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic, possessed and continues to possess a highly developed chemical industry. The scientific potential in this area was in high demand back when Czechoslovakia was a WTO member. At that time, as part of that organisation, Prague had a special responsibility in the sphere of chemical protection within the Eastern Bloc.

Various media sources (you can find these materials) have published information on this subject, which say that after the dissolution of the WTO, the Czech scientific potential in this field was called upon by its new Western partners, and ultimately, in a sense, inherited by NATO. The chemical defence unit of the Czech army has performed special missions in the Middle East on several occasions. In particular, Czech service personnel were in Iraq and provided relief to the use of weapons of mass destruction in Kuwait. This is absolutely open information.

Media publications about the activities of the research centres in the Czech Republic, which carry out research programmes on chemical warfare agents, allow experts to conclude that nerve agents have an important place in these studies and are named Novichok under the Western classification.

This research is led by the Department of Toxicology and Military Pharmacology of the Faculty of Military Health Sciences of the Defence University of the Czech Republic, the Institute for Defence Against Weapons of Mass Destruction at the same University, and the Defence against Weapons of Mass Destruction Section of the Military Research Institute. The 31st Regiment of Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defence of the Czech Army closely cooperates with these entities, which is tasked, among other things, with providing the necessary data on the use of chemical warfare agents obtained during the stay of the Czech military in the Middle East. To reiterate, these are materials that are readily available online. There is an official reaction to specific facts, for which you can contact the Czech authorities.

The most ambitious research projects on chemical warfare agents are conducted by the above department, the staff of which is using unique research equipment of its own design intended solely for studying the consequences of nerve agents. The lab complex includes high-tech equipment to study disorders in the nervous system and organic tissues as a result of toxicological damage to living organisms by chemical agents.

The development of antidotes as well as the “binding substances” and enzymes to absorb components of the nerve agents until the moment they damage vital organs represent a separate area of research by Czech toxicologists.

This research work is carried out by the Czech specialists in close cooperation with the specialised organisations of NATO countries. As a result of these studies, Czech researchers were awarded grants from the NATO Science Committee three times recently. US military specialists also participated in the work of Czech research centres.

Notably, the NATO Centre against Weapons of Mass Destruction in the town of Vyskov, South Moravia, is the leading research center of the alliance in this sphere. The centre opened on November 22, 2007 at the Czech Institute for Defence Against Weapons of Mass Destruction of the Defence University. Reportedly, 63 specialists from eight NATO countries, namely, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, formed the core of this Centre during the initial period of its activities. This year, military specialists from Canada, who already carry out a number of joint programmes with the Czech Republic, are supposed to join the Centre's projects. It remains absolutely unclear, however, whether the Centre is accountable to the Czech authorities both with respect to its own developments, and in the context of the materials at its disposal, including, perhaps, the unaccounted-for warfare agents. Does this Internationale on warfare agent development say anything when we are told about solidarity? That, strictly speaking, is what it is based on, among other things.

On March 23, the Czech Military Science Medical Journal (we love reading newspapers), with reference to numerous Western sources, including scientific publications, published a piece containing detailed information about a nerve agent classified in Western countries as Novichok. According to the article, the Novichok family agents include more than 100 structural variants. Clearly, the ease of the Czech chemists with regard to specific information about Novichok class agents, possible production processes, and the symptoms and the consequences of their use testifies to wide availability of this information and calls into question the assertions of the British side about Russia's exclusive possession of the relevant technology and designs.

On the same day, another Czech publication, Lidove Noviny, published an article which, with reference to Czech scientists (of course, on condition of anonymity), assumed that the research centres in the Czech Republic, in strict secrecy, could be developing Novichok-type chemical warfare agents. However, the source expressed certain reservations that such activities should have been aimed at creating effective methods of protection against toxic agents. Are there goals other than protection?

So, nobody blamed or is blaming Prague. Unlike our British colleagues, we have never come up with any charges, especially in such a way. We are only saying that this is not propaganda, not Russian media, or social media, but Czech publications which have a long track record. The media space has a large number of materials confirming the high scientific potential of the Czech Republic in the area of chemical research, and this must be taken into account.


Mikhail Lesin’s death


We have seen new articles and statements in the US media regarding the death of former Russian Minister Mikhail Lesin in Washington on November 5, 2015. We are puzzled by this renewed speculation. 

Claims are made again that he was murdered and that there is a “Russian trail”. Such claims are based on the statements by well-known British expert Christopher Steele, who has compiled a dossier on US President Donald Trump.

The fact that Christopher Steele is a former British intelligence officer renders the matter even more interesting, remarkable and amusing. The British secret services are famous for their provocation techniques. There are TV series on the topic and also James Bond films which grew into the Austin Powers series. Shifting the blame for their operations onto others is their signature style.

According to the US official forensic investigation, Mikhail Lesin’s death was caused by an accident. There is nothing more to say because the case materials are confidential. But if US law enforcement agencies have new information, we believe they should notify the Russian side first of all since it concerns a Russian citizen. I would like to say that as of now no one has contacted the Russian side about this issue.


Situation on the Korean Peninsula


Russia has been working to strengthen positive developments as regards the situation on the Korean Peninsula and around it. In particular, we are trying to arrange a number of forthcoming meetings in Moscow with representatives of the countries involved. We will provide more information upon agreeing it with our partners.


Poland’s contract on US Patriot air and missile defence systems


We are concerned with Poland’s growing militarisation, which was recently confirmed by Poland’s signing of a contract to buy US Patriot air and missile defence systems. Warsaw is raising its defence spending and is making significant efforts to modernise the military and technical capabilities of the national army, reforming the army units management system and increasing their number. The country’s leaders insist on building up NATO allies’ forces and equipment on Polish territory. The US plans on establishing a missile defence base in the north of Poland are going ahead.

We regard the steps being taken as an element of destabilising the military political situation in Europe and as a threat to the national security of the Russian Federation. At the same time, we state that Russia has sufficient defence resources to secure the integrity of our western borders and to protect our territory.


Anniversary of NATO aggression against Yugoslavia


On March 24, Belgrade commemorated the victims of NATO’s aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Nineteen years ago, by ignoring the UN Security Council and by violating international law and all imaginable moral standards, the North Atlantic Alliance barbarically bombed Serbian cities for 78 days, killing over 2,000 innocent civilians including over 400 children, which are referred to by the West as “collateral damage.”

The pretext for those tragic events was the so-called Racak incident, where Serbs allegedly killed Albanian “civilians.” The Finnish forensic pathologists debunked that propagandistic false information, which was used to justify NATO’s aggression. The dead were Kosovo Albanian terrorists dressed in civilian clothes after their death. Nobody ever was held responsible for that. And nobody even offered apologies. Apparently, apologies do not fare well with NATO.

Almost 20 years have passed, but the methods of our Western colleagues remain the same. This is about revisiting the question from a Carnegie Foundation expert: Do you really think that the whole world consists of idiots? This is a quote from a person who spoke on the radio sponsored by US taxpayers’ money. And the world played that “bloody game” back then. Those were the propagandistic manipulations of the United States and their European allies. Unfortunately, we are witnessing the same practices now. I have covered them extensively today. This situation sets one thinking about the whole Salisbury story, the primitive and hastily drawn so-called “chemical attack” pictures.



To be continued...

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