Moscow's relationship with Britain at all-time low – Russian ambassador to UK
British-Russian relations are at an all-time low, Moscow’s ambassador to the UK said, refuting Downing Street's claim that Moscow is on the "wrong side" of the Syrian argument. He also slammed Britain's decision to deploy troops to the Estonian border.
Responding to British Prime Minister Theresa May's claim that Russia is on the “wrong side of the argument” when it comes to Syria, Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko said “the opposite is true.”
He noted that there is no moderate opposition alternative to the present government in Syria, referring to a similar statement made earlier by a former British ambassador to the Middle East state, Peter Ford.
That’s why there is an “urgent need for lasting ceasefire and political process among the Syrians, so that they can decide for themselves.”
“It seems that our Western partners don't like this approach and want to decide for the Syrians who will take part in the political process and who shall not," he told the Daily Mail.
When asked about British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon's accusation that Russia is responsible for the Syrian chemical attacks by proxy, Yakovenko said that Moscow deplores the “hostile rhetoric not supported by evidence.”
Following the chemical attack in Syria and Washington's subsequent strike on a military airbase, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson canceled a planned visit to Moscow – a move which Yakovenko called “unfortunate.”
“But that is just another indication that there is no bilateral relationship of substance between our two nations, that is beyond mere diplomatic ones," he said.
Yakovenko went on to accuse the UK of “raising tensions” in Europe over its decision to deploy 800 troops to the Estonia, near Russian border, in a move which Fallon claimed was aimed at “defending” NATO.
“We deplore that deployment for it raises tensions in Europe along the border between NATO and Russia. Russia doesn’t pose any threat to Estonia nor any other NATO member-state," Yakovenko said.
When bluntly asked by the Daily Mail whether he believes the relationship between Britain and Russia is the worst it has ever been, Yakovenko didn't mince his words.
“Yes, it is,” he stated.