Grigory Karasin: "We're destined to have good relations"
No politicians will succeed in destroying centuries-old ties between Russian and Ukrainian peoples, State Secretary, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Grigory Karasin, said in an interview with Izvestia. He also spoke about prospects of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement with new leader of Armenia in power.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko terminated the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and Russia of 1997. What will be the consequences of this decision?
"The Ukrainian side has officially notified us of its desire to terminate this agreement. It served as a solid foundation for building cooperation between the two countries in almost all areas of our mutual relations. After the coup in February of 2014, Kiev, despite obvious damage to its own national interests, decided to destroy what has been created by peoples of Russia and Ukraine for many decades.
The Ukrainian government's decision to let a decades-old friendship pact with Russia to expire ahead of presidential polls next spring appeals to its base. It is obviously done by authorities in Kiev to improve their slumping ratings ahead of the 2019 presidential elections," Karasin said, Urdo Point reported.
What actions does Russia take to free journalist, chief editor of RIA Novosti - Ukraine, Kirill Vyshinsky?
"Moscow is taking every step to put global pressure on Kiev to free Kirill Vyshinsky. We are doing everything in our powers, including on global arenas, to remind our partners about the case of Kirill Vyshinsky in order to speed up his release
He is a victim of Ukraine's crackdown on media that dare contradict the government on what is going on in the country," Karasin noted.
Your recently met Zurab Abashidze, special representative of Georgia on relations with Russia, for the third time this year. Did improvement of Russian-Georgian relations advance this year? Will the visa issue be resolbed soon?
"Tbilisi has turned down all our offers to restore diplomatic ties and continues its hostile actions against us on the international scale, contributing to the NATO strategy of containing Russia
Georgia's aggressive behavior threatens the normalization process that started in 2012 and has benefited citizens of both countries. Russia was open to a deal on visa-free travel with the South Caucasus country but needed diplomatic relations to resume first.
We do not exclude, in principle, a visa-free regime with Georgia on a mutual basis. But it is difficult to implement due to lack of a diplomatic relationship. Russia's current visa policies were shaped by an uneasy international situation, specifically a rise in terrorism and illegal migration," Karasin said, Sputnik reported.
Armenian leadership has changed this spring. Many people in Russia are worried that new authorities will complicate relations between Moscow and Yerevan. Can we say that Russia and Armenia are still allies? How has Russian-Armenian cooperation changed since then?
"High-level Russian-Armenian dialogue continues despite political changes in Armenia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has had three meetings with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, and the Prime Ministers of the two countries have met twice over a few months. The leaders have also talked on phone.
The main political outcome of these contacts is the confirmation of the unchanged course of further reinforcement of Russian-Armenian allied relations both in bilateral format and within common integration frameworks such as the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Despite some domestic political instability in Armenia, systematic joint work on specific areas of cooperation continues. A testament to that is the positive dynamics in commodity turnover, which made $925.6 million in the first half of 2018, marking a 23.4% growth as compared to the same period of 2017," Karasin noted, armradio.am reported.
Are there any prospects for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement under new leader of Armenia?
"There is only one perspective – a peaceful settlement through negotiations. The vital interest of the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples in security, stability and development forms the basis and political driving force for the negotiation process, which Russia strongly supports
As an OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing country, Russia is working closely with the other members of the trio – France and USA. In compliance with the general line of the co-chairs, in the framework of the decisions taken on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, we also strive to do our part to the best of our ability to assist the parties to the conflict in developing peace agreements.
This position of ours remains unchanged. It is fixed in the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation and confirmed during Vladimir Putin’s recent meetings with the leaders of the two countries," armradio.am quoted him as saying.