Category Archives: Russia

Joint Statement On U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and Ukraine on the occasion of the 2018 U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership Commission Meeting in Washington, DC.

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin met November 16, 2018, in Washington, D.C., to hold a plenary session of the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership Commission. The plenary meeting marked the tenth anniversary of the U.S.–Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership, a document that enshrines the principles upon which the relationship between our two democracies is based. The plenary was also an opportunity to work toward implementation of the goals for the U.S.-Ukrainian relationship as outlined by Presidents Trump and Poroshenko during their previous bilateral meetings.

During the 2014 Revolution of Dignity, the Ukrainian people voiced their desire to live in a modern, democratic, European state, free from corruption and foreign control. Since the Revolution, the United States has provided over $2.8 billion in assistance and three $1 billion loan guarantees to help Ukraine defend its territory and implement key reforms. The United States remains steadfast in its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Klimkin reiterated that cooperation between the United States and Ukraine is based on common interests and shared values, including support for democracy, economic freedom and prosperity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, energy security, and respect for human rights and the rule of law. They decided to create three new bilateral working groups focused on Security and Countering Russian Aggression; Rule of Law and Humanitarian Issues; and Economy and Energy. These groups will meet regularly to discuss areas of mutual concern and advance joint objectives. The 2018 Strategic Partnership Commission’s meeting featured inaugural sessions of each working group.

Security and Countering Russian Aggression

The two sides underscored the need to continue building Ukraine’s resilience in the face of Russian aggression, reaffirmed the importance of the Minsk agreements in ending Russia’s aggression, and highlighted the need to restore Ukrainian control over the Ukrainian territories temporarily occupied or controlled by Russia – Crimea and the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Both sides decided that a robust UN-mandated international security force in the areas of Donbas controlled by Russia, including the Ukraine-Russia international border, would create the necessary security conditions for the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

The United States reiterated its commitment to Secretary Pompeo’s July 25 Declaration on the non-recognition of Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea.

The United States condemned Russia’s aggressive actions against international shipping transiting the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait to Ukrainian ports. Both sides underscored that Russia’s aggressive activities in the Sea of Azov have brought new security, economic, social, and environmental threats to the entire Azov-Black Sea region.

The United States confirmed its commitment to maintain sanctions against Russia related to its aggression against Ukraine until Russia fully implements the Minsk agreements and returns Crimea to Ukrainian control.

The United States welcomed Ukraine’s prolongation of the law on special order of self-government in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions on October 4, highlighted the many steps Ukraine has taken to implement the Minsk agreements, and called on Russia to fulfill its commitments under the agreements. The United States and Ukraine demanded the immediate release of all Ukrainian political prisoners unjustly held in Russia and the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, including Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Volodymyr Balukh, Server Mustafaiev, Emir-Usein Kuku, and many others.

The two sides condemned the illegal so-called “elections” in Russia-controlled Donbas on November 11. The sides reiterated these sham elections, orchestrated by Russia, contravene Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements and flout UNSC Resolution 2202 (2015).

Both sides noted with satisfaction that robust security cooperation would continue in 2019, including assistance to counter Russian election meddling, joint training exercises, and cybersecurity cooperation.

The parties decided to further strengthen military-technical cooperation and welcomed the U.S. provision of military assistance, which will help build Ukraine’s long-term defensive capacity.

The United States and Ukraine confirmed the importance of the Budapest Memorandum of December 5, 1994, and called on Russia to fulfill its previous commitments to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

Ukraine reaffirmed that becoming a NATO member remains its strategic priority, as recently enshrined in its legislation. The United States welcomed Ukraine’s NATO aspirations, reaffirmed by the 2008 Bucharest Declaration, and looked forward to one day welcoming Ukraine into the Alliance. The United States reiterated its support for Ukrainian efforts to implement the security reforms detailed in the Law on National Security, and commended Ukraine’s continuing contribution to international peace and security operations throughout the globe.

Rule of Law and Humanitarian Issues

The United States and Ukraine underscored that securing Ukraine’s European future and safeguarding the country from Russian malign influences requires continued reform and strong democratic institutions, in particular a free press, vibrant civil society, and an independent judiciary delivering impartial justice.

Ukraine committed to further strengthen its democratic institutions, in particular by conducting free, fair, and secure 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections in accordance with international standards, and welcomed international support.

The United States commended Ukraine’s commitment to pursue further comprehensive judicial and law enforcement reform, necessary to strengthen the rule of law in Ukraine. The United States commended Ukraine for adopting a law to establish an independent anti-corruption court that encompasses recommendations of the IMF and other international partners of Ukraine. Ukraine reaffirmed its commitment to establishing a fully functioning independent High Anti-Corruption Court and to protecting anti-corruption institutions.

Both sides highlighted the need to increase civilians’ freedom of movement and improve access to government services and humanitarian assistance for Ukrainians affected by Russian aggression, including Ukrainians residing in territories temporarily controlled or occupied by Russia. The United States commended Ukraine’s efforts to provide for the needs of IDPs, though both sides concurred that more work remains. The sides emphasized that the rights of all Ukrainians must be equally guaranteed. The United States and Ukraine also discussed actions on combatting trafficking in persons.

Economy and Energy

The United States reaffirmed its commitment to partner with Ukraine to develop a free and prosperous economy. The United States expressed support for the many economic reforms Ukraine has undertaken, and encouraged further reform and cooperation with the IMF and other partners to achieve strong, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth. The United States and Ukraine underlined the importance of the work of the U.S.-Ukraine Trade and Investment Council to increase bilateral trade and investments by eliminating existing trade barriers and improving the regulatory environment and business climate.

Both sides intend to continue work together aimed at developing and reforming Ukraine’s energy sector to enhance Ukraine’s economy and security. Ukraine underscored its intention to expand domestic oil and gas production, unbundle the gas transit system, and welcomed the involvement of U.S. companies in these efforts, as well as in programs aimed at increasing energy efficiency. Both sides also underscored the need for continued gas transit through Ukraine, and emphasized their opposition to energy projects that threaten European energy diversity and security. In particular, the United States and Ukraine stressed the importance of continued coordination to stop proposed Russian pipelines that would hurt Ukraine’s economic and strategic stability, such as Nord Stream 2 and the second line of TurkStream.

Secretary Pompeo and Minister Klimkin look forward to further strengthening the partnership between the United States and Ukraine and decided to convene the next session of the Strategic Partnership Commission in Kyiv, Ukraine.

End text.

Speech By British Ambassador To Russia At The RBCC’s RussiaTALK Investment Forum

Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Russia Dr Laurie Bristow gave a speech at the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce’s RussiaTALK Investment Forum on Thursday 1 November

Dr Laurie Bristow

Dr Laurie Bristow

Welcome to Russia Talk.

We need to talk. And the place to start is by being honest about the challenges we all face. The last year has been one of the most difficult in living memory, at the political level. Between the UK and Russia, for sure. But also between Russia and a wide range of Russia’s international partners.

The chemical weapons attack which took place in the UK last March was a turning point. It crossed all possible moral and legal red lines. We are very confident in our judgement that it was carried out by agents of the Russian state. Twenty eight other countries acted with us to reduce Russia’s ability to harm us.

It will not be possible to have a normal political relationship with the government of a country whose agents attack us in this way. Our first duty is to protect the UK.

But we do not seek confrontation with Russia. What we want is a relationship based on mutual respect and which benefits the people of both countries. In business, education, and culture. And in addressing the 21st century opportunities and challenges that are too big for any country to deal with alone. Such as climate change, anti-microbial resistance, artificial intelligence and new technologies. That is clearly in the interests of the UK.

It will take a long time to build the kind of relationship we want with Russia, and it will be difficult. To some extent it will depend on changes in Russia over which the UK has little influence. But we have some important successes to build on.

First, the depth and breadth of the economic relationship. British and Russian firms work together across a broad spectrum, creating jobs and improving living standards in both countries.

UK-Russia bilateral trade in 2017 was worth nearly £12bn. It isn’t just trade: many UK companies invest in Russia for the long term, employing Russians and supporting the Russian economy. Rotork, a UK engineering company, recently opened a new office and manufacturing facility here in Moscow. My Embassy supports a large number of British companies operating in Russia, and Russian companies seeking to invest in the UK. In October we held events promoting education, fashion and marketing communications. We work closely with the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce to support trade, helping you identify opportunities and manage risks – including legal and reputational risks for example from sanctions compliance.

Second, we have over the last 25 years built strong and lasting education links. The successful economies of the 21st century will be the ones that can create knowledge and bring it to market. So we need to work now to create and strengthen links between educational and research institutions. I meet a lot of young Russians as they graduate from joint degree programmes between Russian and UK universities. They are the people who will be doing our jobs a few years from now. Supporting those links remains one of the most important long term investments we make. My Embassy will continue to do so despite the Russian government’s decision to close the British Council in Russia. Earlier this week we held a seminar for 100 Russian teachers to promote UK education to Russian students.

Third, the strength that comes from our cultural and historical links. We will build on these in 2019 with the UK-Russia Year of Music in 2019. Business will have an important part to play, given the importance of the creative industries to the UK economy.

And fourth, the strength that comes from individual contacts. Our visa numbers are rising, and the number of Russian tourists travelling to the UK is rising. Last summer, tens of thousands of British people visited Russia for the World Cup. That is surely something for both sides to build on.

As I said at this conference last year, business and commercial ties are important in their own right. But they are also a stabilising force in the relationships between Russian and its foreign partners. There is a lot to talk about.

Thank you very much.

Move Towards Ukrainian Autocephaly

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The United States reiterates its strong support for religious freedom and the freedom of members of religious groups, including Ukraine’s Orthodox community, to govern their religion according to their beliefs, free of outside interference.

We support Ukrainians’ ability to worship as they choose and hope this will be respected by all. Tolerance, restraint, and understanding are key to ensuring that people with different religious affiliations can live and prosper together in peace. We urge Church and government officials to actively promote these values in connection with the move towards the establishment of an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Do We Need The Nord Stream 2?

Speech of the GAZPROM Chairman A. Miller in Saint Petersburg October 4, 2018

“As you will know, in 2017 the volume of gas supply to the European market reached 194.4 billion cubic meters.These are the GAZPROM volumes. This figure indicates 8.4% growth in comparison to 2016.Today we start from 6% growth but proceeding from a higher absolute base of the record last year. This indicates that GAZPROM results of 2018 will strike a new record of gas supply to the European market.But here we must mark a few points. First, the absolute volume of supply will be higher than 200 billion cubic meters of gas.

What does it mean? This means that we will approach closely or probably reach the point of 205 billion cubic meters of gas supply to Europe.

This will fit the maximum yearly contract volumes for all our contracts of supplies to the European market.

In total we will reach 100% of our obligations which we have before our partners.

GAZPROM Chairman A.Miller

GAZPROM Chairman A.Miller

Without doubt a trend has emerged.

From every side, we see the demand for the Russian gas growing further.

We can see this in the framework of those negotiations that we had with the OMV on the side lines of this forum.

We witness that our traditional partners- not only OMV- state their intention to buy even larger volumes of gas.

With this we need to understand that those figures are very, very substantial.

That’s why we confirm that the new coordinate system proves that today on the gas market as a market of vendor has emerged.

And this is quite a new situation.

This is not the situation that we saw five to ten years ago. This is the first point.

Secondly. It deals with the question of demand for some gas transportation routes. In particular, the Baltic Sea – Nord Stream project.

During the last 12 months the load of Nord Stream became 7% higher than the planned project capacity.

I will remind you all that the project capacity of the pipeline is 55 billion cubic meters, but its technological possibilities allow us to export a little more.

During the last 12 months we supplied to Europe 59 billion cubic meters.

That means that the Nord Stream as an export gas transportation route from Russia was in demand for more than 100%.

This is the answers to this question: “Do we need the Nord Stream 2?”

All the existing capacities are being explored far beyond the projected ones. “

 

UK Exposes Russian Cyber Attacks

The UK National Cyber Security Centre has identified a campaign by the Russian military intelligence service of indiscriminate and reckless cyber attacks

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Today, the UK and its allies can expose a campaign by the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, of indiscriminate and reckless cyber attacks targeting political institutions, businesses, media and sport.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has identified that a number of cyber actors widely known to have been conducting cyber attacks around the world are, in fact, the GRU. These attacks have been conducted in flagrant violation of international law, have affected citizens in a large number of countries, including Russia, and have cost national economies millions of pounds.

Cyber attacks orchestrated by the GRU have attempted to undermine international sporting institution WADA, disrupt transport systems in Ukraine, and destabilise democracies and target businesses.

This campaign by the GRU shows that it is working in secret to undermine international law and international institutions.

The Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said:

These cyber attacks serve no legitimate national security interest, instead impacting the ability of people around the world to go about their daily lives free from interference, and even their ability to enjoy sport.

The GRU’s actions are reckless and indiscriminate: they try to undermine and interfere in elections in other countries; they are even prepared to damage Russian companies and Russian citizens. This pattern of behaviour demonstrates their desire to operate without regard to international law or established norms and to do so with a feeling of impunity and without consequences.

Our message is clear: together with our allies, we will expose and respond to the GRU’s attempts to undermine international stability.

Today, the UK and its allies are once again united in demonstrating that the international community will stand up against irresponsible cyber attacks by other governments and that we will work together to respond to them. The British government will continue to do whatever is necessary to keep our people safe.

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