Embassy press officer’s reply to a media question concerning the statements of FCO Minister of State Sir Alan Duncan

Question: How would you comment on the statement of Minister of State Sir Alan Duncan to the effect that the UK will “push for new sanctions […] as well as robustly enforcing the existing EU regime against Russia”?

Answer: This and other similar statements fall in line with the Conservative government’s current policy aimed at destroying the fabric of Russian-British relations, further isolating Russia and presenting it as a major threat to the “rules-based international system”.

Faced with the realities of Brexit, the British government is desperate to convince its partners of the need for a tougher sanctions regime against Russia. As usual, it resorts to insinuations, unverified facts and media leaks. Despite our numerous requests, no evidence of Russia’s responsibility has been provided. Russia’s proposals of cooperation in dealing with common challenges and threats, including in the sphere of cybersecurity and chemical disarmament, are being rejected without explanation.

Such policy of the British government is flawed and short-sighted. It is unacceptable by the standards of international relations. Unilateral sanctions run against international law and compromise the prestige of the United Kingdom, that is driving itself and its partners into a political impasse. It is ironic that this should be happening at a time when the government has adopted a “Global Britain” policy to demonstrate openness to the world.