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Russian ambassador tells Foreign Office dissatisfied with Secretary’s remarks on Syria

February 27, 22:28 updated at: February 28, 22:28 UTC+3 LONDON

Alexander Yakovenko admitted there should be no overestimating the degree of London’s influence on the situation in Syria where the civil war broke out in 2011

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LONDON, February 28. /TASS/. The Russian Ambassador in London, Alexander Yakovenko, who visited the Foreign Office on Tuesday, voiced dissatisfaction with the remarks that UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was making on the responsibility that Russia was allegedly bearing in connection with developments in Syria.

Yakovenko told Russian reporters about it after a meeting with Sir Alan Duncan, the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas.

"The main focus was given to Syria and the steps to be taken in line with the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2401," he said. "We told the British side outright that we were totally dissatisfied with the statements Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had made, claiming that Russia and some other countries bore the full brunt of responsibility for the humanitarian situation [in Syria]."

"We had a serious enough discussion of the situation in the field," Yakovenko said, adding that responsibility for non-fulfillment of the UN Security Council resolution lay on the militant formations, which were not prepared for ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta and kept peaceful civilians hostage, denying them an opportunity to get evacuated and shelling Damascus.

"I told Minister Duncan straightforwardly the UK could do more to help observance of the ceasefire," the ambassador said. "The British interlocutors gave the assurances they would try hard to make direct contact with the [militant] groups operating in Syria."

He admitted there should be no overestimating the degree of London’s influence on the situation in Syria where the civil war broke out in 2011 but he stressed the importance of using all the opportunities available.

"I don’t think by any means the British have super-influence on the situation or particular clout among the [Syrian] opposition but they do have some influence," Yakovenko said. "It’s important for us to use any opportunity for alleviating the humanitarian situation."

He voiced the hope collaboration in Syria could help Moscow and London unfreeze their political relations, which many experts say have sunk to the lowest point since the end of the Cold War.

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