12:45 GMT24 October 2020
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    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova held her weekly press-briefing on Wednesday, commenting on a wide range of issues from the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to the latest developments in Syria.


    On the Settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

    Maria Zakharova said that the Russian President has held telephone conversations with the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is going to visit Azerbaijan on Thursday and will visit Yerevan on April 21-22.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov during his visit to Baku on April 6-7.

    "He will meet with his colleague, the head of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry," Zakharova told reporters, adding that the sides would discuss ways to settle the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.

    Maria Zakharova also noted Russia's constructive role in the settlement of the conflict, adding that Russia acts as a co-chair of the Minsk group working on the issue.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also commented on the situation with the journalists of the Russian LifeNews channel, who were deported  from Azerbaijan, urging for the work of all mass media sources to be respected.  

    Maria Zakharova reiterated that Russia will do its best to help to settle the ongoing regional conflict.

    On the Situation in Syria

    The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman welcomed comments by the Deputy Spokesperson for the US Department of State that the future of President Assad should be decided by a political process.

    She stressed that the fate of the Syrian president should rest in the hands of Syrians.

    Maria Zakharova reiterated that Moscow insists on the participation of the Syrian Kurds in the upcoming round of Syrian negotiations. She also said that Moscow is concerned over the high level of violence in Kurdish-populated provinces in Turkey.

    Moscow has also called on Ankara to end its military solution to the Kurdish issue, calling it a dead-end method.

    "The level of violence that is not being reduced in the Kurdish-populated southeastern provinces of Turkey continues to be a concern. According to official data, since the beginning of the current Turkish government's so-called anti-terrorist operations in July 2015, 285 civilians have been killed, and this is only according to official figures," Zakharova said during her weekly briefing.

    "We again call on Ankara to give up betting on the dead-end method of force in solving the Kurdish problem," she added.

    "We again call on Ankara to give up betting on the dead-end method of force in solving the Kurdish problem," she added.

    Maria Zakharova also noted that over 1,500 explosives have been neutralized in the Syrian city of Palmyra with the assistance of Russian experts.

    With regards to ultranationalist Alparslan Celik, who was arrested and questioned by Turkish authorities, Maria Zakharova said that Russian authorities are working on criminal proceedings against him for the killing a Russian Su-24 pilot.

    "The fact that this extremist has previously publicly admitted his involvement in the murder of the Russian pilot has not been commented on by Turkish authorities… At present, Russian competent authorities are looking into the possibility of making Celik criminally liable for participating in the murder of the Russian pilot," Zakharova told a briefing.

    On "Panama Papers" Offshore Scandal

    Russia was ready for information attacks on the country's leadership before the release of the so-called Panama Papers data leak, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.

    "We were ready [for these reports] in the sense that, as you know, the [Russian] presidential administration had made a statement on an upcoming smear campaign, allegedly presented as facts. But I think everyone was expecting something more," Zakharova said at a daily briefing.

    According to the spokeswoman, the alleged documents were not focused on Russia and they would not affect the work of the Russian ministry.

    On Sunday, Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung published materials it claimed came from the Panamanian Mossack Fonseca company, exposing alleged involvement of a number of world leaders and their circles in tax havens schemes. Some individuals allegedly close to Russian President Vladimir Putin were mentioned in the report.

    Mossack Fonseca has refused to validate the information contained in the leaks and accused reporters of gaining unauthorized access to its proprietary documents. One of the company founders in an interview with TVN TV channel has said that some documents had been stolen, but refused to specify, which ones.

    On the British Reports on "Russia's Information War"

    Maria Zakharova noted that the objective of anti-Russian propaganda was at first a very profitable business which later grew into a tool with a healthy budget for military purposes.

    She also noted that when NATO is strengthening militarily it is considered "defense", but while someone else is doing the same it is considered an "aggression." This is just double standards, she said.

    On Fake Information Blaming Russia in MH17 Downing

    Maria Zakharova commented on the continuous misinformation fabricated to blame Russia for the downing of the MH17 flight in Ukraine, calling it blasphemous in reference to the relatives of the victims.

    On the Demolition of Russian Monuments in Poland

    Maria Zakharova called such actions massive acts of vandalism encouraged by the Polish authorities.

    On April 6 Referendum in the Netherlands to Back or Reject the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman stressed that the voting should be an objective expression of the people's attitude towards the future they would like to live in, without any outside pressure.

    press briefing, Maria Zakharova, Russia
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