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An updated edition of the White Book on human rights violations in Ukraine has been published
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has prepared an updated edition of the White Book on human rights violations in Ukraine, covering the period from April to mid-June 2014. The document, like the first edition, is based on thorough monitoring of Ukrainian, Russian and some Western media outlets, statements and comments by representatives of the Kiev authorities and their supporters, numerous eyewitness accounts, and material collected by the Moscow Human Rights Bureau, the Group for Information on Crimes against the Individual, and the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.
(Pictures from the White Book on Human Rights Violations in Ukraine)
Comment by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the report of the U.S. Department of State on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments
On the 29 July, the U.S. Department of State published the Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments report, which along with the information on the United States' compliance with its treaty obligations also provides evaluation of adherence to the international agreements by other States.
The United States has made yet another attempt (and quite an awkward one again) to act as a mentor claiming for some reason to be the only one to know the absolute truth and daring to assess others. Its claims are hardly substantiated and are based on strange conclusions and conjectures, i.e. they are not meant for expert analysis. The goal, it seems, is to make fuss about this information to disturb other countries and feed the mass media with the "propaganda brew". Or is it possible that the U.S. administration is still under the delusion that the world takes Washington at its word?
If in the United States the authors and publishers of this report have got used to repeating the same mistakes year after year, we, for our part, are ready to keep stressing that the existing international agreements and specialized international fora – platforms for serious expert and diplomatic work - provide for special mechanisms of settling disputable issues and removing potential suspicions. But the work in these formats requires a great deal of effort, which is hard to achieve. It is, probably, easier to bring out some facts to the public and wait for the desired effect while referring to some requirements of the U.S. law. Yet, if the law requirements cast a shadow on the country itself, it might be high time these requirements were changed.
Blatant and deliberate disinformation of the international public on the adherence to the arms control agreements by other States gives reason to doubt the credibility of the data in the report with regard to the United States' compliance with international obligations. We are ready to help our colleagues from Washington to mend this flaw. Objectiveness and accuracy should be given top priority.
Our attention has been drawn to the fact that the report accuses Russia of violating the provisions of the INF Treaty. Notably, the U.S. side, in its usual manner, provides no specific facts but rather replaced them, for some obscure reason, with a synopsis of the Treaty articles. Comments of the U.S. officials who refer to some "classified intelligence data" also fail to clarify the essence of the U.S. claims. The value and the reliability of such references is largely compromised by the infamous story of the mythical "Iraqi weapons of mass destruction", which was publicly inflated by the Americans and then burst with a scandal. In the context of the events in eastern Ukraine, regular injections of blatantly false and provocative allegations while ignoring the hard data obtained by technical means that are beyond the U.S. control hardly add any trust to such "reliable intelligence sources". The years go by, but the Americans are yet to learn the lessons of history.
Another attempt to discredit Russia looks biased and outrageous. This is especially obvious against the backdrop of numerous "liberties" in the application of the INF Treaty provisions by the United States itself. We have told the U.S. representatives many times and say again that we have serious concerns about the use of targets with characteristics similar to those of intermediate and shorter-rage missiles during missile defense tests. The same refers to the armed U.S. UAVs which clearly fall within the definition of ground-launched cruise missiles under the Treaty. The issue of Mk-41 launchers that the United States intend to deploy in Poland and Romania has become quite notorious lately. These launchers can be used to fire intermediate-range cruise missiles, so their ground basing will be a flagrant violation of the INF Treaty.
Washington, certainly, is aware of all these problems, but stubbornly refuses to discuss them substantially. This raises grave doubts about the sincerity of the U.S. official statements claiming its commitment to the goals and objectives of the INF Treaty, as well as its readiness for a real joint work with Russia to ensure adherence to the Treaty regime and increase its viability. The impression is that the purpose of artificial charges against Russia is to deflect attention from the listed US violations by creating some sort of a "smoke screen".
The unsatisfactory situation with the adherence to the INF Treaty becomes especially concerning if we take into account the continuing systematic and methodical shaking of the global strategic stability system by the United States. The Americans started this process in 2001 by their unilateral withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. Now, this is aggravated by the accelerated and totally unrestricted build-up of the global missile defense system by the United States, its unwillingness to free the territory of other States from the U.S. tactical nuclear arsenal deployed there, the development of the provocative "Prompt Global Strike" strategy and the exaggerated build-up of conventional armaments, including their offensive component. The United States persistent refusal to participate in the development of international arrangements on the prevention of placement of weapons in outer space is quite revealing. In this way, Washington is actually forming a new ultra technological threat to the entire world, which can undermine the strategic stability system on our planet.
We need to pay attention to many other "paradoxes" and "twists" in the U.S. policy on arms control and non-proliferation. Thus, Washington initiated the conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT); however, it is the United States that has not yet ratified this important instrument. We are worried that there are no signs that this situation may change in the near future. Moreover, we have established that U.S. nuclear laboratories are actively lobbying for keeping U.S. nuclear test sites ready for carrying out new full-scale nuclear explosions. This creates a dangerous situation in the area of nuclear non-proliferation. The "stagnation" of the ratification of the Treaty by the United States is the main obstacle to the entry of the CTBT into force.
We are perplexed that the United States has still not ratified the vital Amendment of 2005 to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. We have to return to the issue of manners currently adopted in Washington. It is not polite to fall behind with this Amendment and at the same time aspire to act as a "mentor" and "supervisor" towards the rest of the world with regard to nuclear security (NS). We have the right to expect a more responsible approach from the country that once initiated regular Nuclear Security Summits. It’s our hope that the United States will finally ratify this Amendment by the next summit in Washington scheduled for 2016.
The United States has been for a long time defiantly sticking to the practice of spreading insinuations about the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). Claims concerning Russia's non-compliance with the BTWC that Washington has been reproducing year after year are baseless, pointless or simply awkward. For instance, this refers to the "message" of the latest report that Russian entities are engaged in dual-use biological activities, and therefore, it is allegedly not clear what has been happening there. It is evident that they count on a low public awareness of the fact that the United States has the largest number of biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) biological laboratories (up to 5000). And according to the Government Accountability Office no less than 1356 of them have the license to work with controlled (especially hazardous) pathogens. All these sites are of dual-use, and the controlled pathogens are directly related to the BTWC.
After Washington unilaterally and cynically disrupted the negotiations on the development of the Protocol to reinforce the BTWC in 2001, when they were close to conclusion, the Americans have been steadfast in blocking any attempts to strengthen the Convention on a legally binding basis, including by establishing a verification mechanism. It is precisely such a legally binding instrument that would remove the concerns of States in the context of the implementation of the BTWC.
Moreover, despite the fact that all States Parties to the BTWC and the CWC adopted by consensus recommendations concerning the removal of reservations to the 1925 Geneva Protocol on the prohibition of the use of chemical and biological weapons in war and that the UN General Assembly annually adopts by consensus resolution on Measures to Uphold the Authority of the 1925 Geneva Protocol, the United States still retain their reservations to the Geneva Protocol. This policy does not enhance the regimes of the prohibition of biological and chemical weapons at all; indeed it raises serious questions regarding the true commitment of the United States to these regimes
To sum it all up, the U.S. report may be considered as a list of far-fetched accusations of others with no attempts to reflect on their own actions.
The Russian government published Thursday the list of agricultural products banned for import for one year from countries that imposed sanctions on Russia, it includes meat, poultry and milk products as well as fruits and vegetables.
"The restrictions are imposed for one year starting from today, but if our partners demonstrate a constructive stance on issues of cooperation, the government is ready to review the terms of these restrictions," Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
Imports of agricultural products will be banned from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway.
The embargo does not include infant foods and goods.
Medvedev said that attempts to make money on the import ban would be severely handled by Russian trade and agriculture watchdogs.
"I would like to warn everyone that attempts to scalp to make money on this situation will be handled severely," the prime minister said.
The year-long embargo Russia is imposing will boost domestic agricultural production, Medvedev added.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin singed an order on economic measures to protect the country's security. The decree banned for a year imports of agricultural and food products from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia.
The European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and some other countries have compiled sanctions lists against Russian companies, banks, politicians, as well as the financial, energy and defense sectors of the Russian economy. The move has been linked to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Moscow has repeatedly called the measures counterproductive and stressed that Russia was never involved in the Ukrainian conflict.
PRESS-SECTION OF THE EMBASSY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IN THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA