Skip to main content

Russia: Foreign Relations

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 11 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment of the state of UK-Russia relations is. (240783)

Russia is important to achieving UK objectives in many areas, including regional security, energy and climate change. The UK has serious concerns over Russian policy and actions in Georgia, and is supporting multilateral efforts to broker solutions.

Significant differences remain unresolved in bilateral relations, including over the Litvinenko case and the British Council’s work in Russia, on which we continue to pursue satisfactory outcomes.

The Government engage with Russia in pursuit of UK interests, including through high level dialogue. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister met President Medvedev in the margins of the G20 summit in Washington to discuss the international financial crisis. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met Foreign Minister Lavrov most recently on 4 December in the margins of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe ministerial in Helsinki.

Although the strong trade and investment relationship between Russia and the UK has been hit by the financial crisis, both the Lord Mayor of London and my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Lord Mandelson, have led business delegations to Russia this autumn to promote the interests of British business and encourage co-operation between governments on trade and investment. The Government have supported both the From Russia exhibition in London and the Turner exhibition in Moscow.