Lavrov to meet new head of the Office for Democratic Institutions of the OSCE


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will hold a meeting on Wednesday with Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Michael Link who arrived in Moscow for the first time since taking office in July this year.

ODIHR press secretary Thomas Rymer told TASS that Link came to the Russian capital on a familiarisation trip and the meeting agenda would be open. He will discuss current issues and co-operation prospects, development of further interaction, Rymer said.

The sides may exchange views on the October 26 Ukrainian parliamentary elections. The new head of ODIHR that specialises in election monitoring may familiarise the Russian foreign minister with the international observers’ assessment of the voting process.

Russia urges Israel to refrain from construction on occupied Palestinian territories


Russia is strongly urging Israel to abandon plans to proceed with the construction of settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories, the Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Wednesday.

“Israel’s plans to expand settlements in any part of the occupied Palestinian territories run counter to the international law and cannot but arouse deep concerns,” Lukashevich said.

Russia is especially concerned about the construction projects in East Jerusalem as “any ill-thought-out unilateral actions there may have far-reaching consequences,” Lukashevich said.

The statement comes after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week announced plans to construct over 1,000 new housing units in populous Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

Moscow understands that Norway joined anti-Russian sanctions under pressure-Lavrov

Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov gestures during a news conference in Moscow

Moscow understands that Norway joined anti-Russian sanctions under pressure from outside, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday after talks with Norwegian counterpart Borge Brende.

“Our relations with Norway face certain tensions at the moment, as Norway joined unilateral restrictive measures against Russia,” Lavrov said. “Joined them, as we understand, for the reasons lying outside Norway,” he added.

“Nevertheless, we confirmed today our mutual interest in developing relations in the sphere of economy, cooperate on environmental protection, on nuclear and radiation safety, as well as on issues of trans-border ties,” the foreign minister said.

Russian parliament hopes to resume dialogue with new Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada


Russia’s State Duma (lower house) hopes to resume an inter-parliamentary dialogue with the new Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, head of the house’s department for public relations and interaction with mass media Yury Shuvalov said on Monday.

Commenting on the preliminary results of the October 26 parliamentary elections in Ukraine, Shuvalov said, “We hope that a new parliament will allow us to resume the dialogue. It may be held at the inter-parliamentary level, including on international platforms.”

“Russia will strive for it in every possible way,” he said, adding that Speaker Sergey Naryshkin had talked about the need to resume the dialogue.

Russian parliamentarians hope that the elections will be “a turning stage for Ukraine to overcome the severest crisis and will be able to return the political elite for being responsible for the future of the country and its citizens”, Shuvalov said.

Russia ready to cooperate with new EU Commission


Russia is set to intensify partnership with the new European Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker, Russia’s Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said in an exclusive interview with the EurActiv news web portal on Tuesday.

“With the new commission, we are fully prepared to reinvigorate our cooperation,” the diplomat said. “I would suggest that we should not concentrate on slogans or debate whether our relationship is strategic or not, but rather look into the substance.”

“The new commission will have a number of familiar faces, including its president (Jean-Claude Juncker), who is a well-known experienced politician. He served as prime minister of Luxembourg during periods of the Luxembourg presidency in the council,” Chizhov said.

Russia to continue resistance to attempts at revival of Nazism — Lavrov

Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov gestures during a news conference in Moscow

Russia will continue to resist attempts at revival of Nazism and falsification of World War II history, Foreign Minister Sergrey Lavrov said at a meeting with members of the Youth Civic Chamber on Wednesday.

“Currently we pay special attention to preparations for the jubilee of victory in the Great Patriotic War. May 9, 2015 will mark its 70th anniversary. In this context we shall raise our voice against any attempts to connive with or even support the revival of neo-Nazi views, cater to those who wish to get back to the misanthropic philosophy and to consign to oblivion the horrible victims of Hitlerism,” Lavrov said.

Russia supports Iraq, Syria by supplying weapons, military equipment — Lavrov


Russia is supporting the governments of Iraq, Syria and other Middle East states in their fight against terrorism, including by supplying weapons to them, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

“We also back these governments by massive supplies of weapons and military equipment and effectively enhancing their combat capacity,” Lavrov said during an open lecture on Russia’s foreign policy in Moscow.

Lavrov said the situation in Iraq, where the US forces have been deployed for over 10 years, shows that the “concept of artificially imposing recipes of state forms of government and social and economic development is absurd.”

“Today this country, which is our friend, and which Americans planned to turn into an example of modernization or democratic role model for all the other Arab nations, is struggling against the deepest foreign policy crisis which is threatening the existence of Iraq as a single state,” Lavrov said.

No need for NATO presence in Arctic — Lavrov


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday he sees no need of NATO presence in the Arctic.

“We firmly believe that there are no problems in the Arctic which demand NATO participation, moreover, there are no problems there which demand military decisions,” the minister said during a public lecture on Russia’s foreign policy.

According to Lavrov, long before the Ukrainian crisis, NATO said and continues saying that the military factor in the Arctic will increase amid the escalation of the fight for the resources.

“The Arctic is a territory of dialogue,” the minister stressed. “We use this slogan for regular forums in Russia, and the work of the Arctic Council, to a large extent, is drawn up in this way,” he said.

The eight members of the Arctic Council are Russia, Denmark, Canada, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, and the United States.

Russia may introduce special economic regime with Ukraine


A lawmaker of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) has submitted a proposal to the government on introducing a special economic regime with Ukraine to revise the current contracts with Kiev and ban further deals, the Izvestia newspaper reported on Thursday.

Lawmaker Roman Khudyakov said Russia’s harsh economic policy will help bring a swift end to the armed conflict and force Kiev to comply with the agreements signed in the Belarusian capital Minsk last month during the talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

“The goal is very simple — forcing Ukraine to peace,” the newspaper quoted Khudyakov, a politician from Moldova’s breakaway region of Transdniestria, as saying.

The proposed measures include a ban on the supplies of Ukrainian food, machinery and metalwork products to Russia. Russia could also block exports to Ukraine of “everything that may be used for military actions of the Ukrainian army,” including tank engines and KAMAZ trucks, the report says.

Moscow may offer asymmetric response if Ukraine introduces visas

П/к председателя комитета Госдумы по делам СНГ Л.Слуцкого

Russia may offer an asymmetric response if Ukraine decides to introduce visas for Russians, the chairman of the State Duma’s committee for the CIS affairs, Eurasian integration and diaspora relations, Leonid Slutsky, said about a relevant statement by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

“If Kiev introduces visas, naturally, our response will be asymmetric,” he said. At the same time Slutsky added that “no artificial barriers should be allowed to emerge between Russian and Ukrainian peoples.”

“Our citizens have many relatives and friends (in Ukraine). We have not yet curtailed cultural and humanitarian exchanges at all levels. For this reason, even if Russia decides to introduce visas too, for many categories of citizens the regime will be rather lax, however complicated the task of effecting such a regime might be. This is a fundamental position of ours,” Slutsky said.