Remarks to the press by Ambassador V.Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Eastern Ukraine
Q: Were you surprised that there was no change in tone from the previous (US) administration?
V.Churkin: No, I've detected quite a bit of change of tone. It was a rather short statement but anyway I don't want to read too much into that because it's just the beginning of the road. Hopefully, the road will lead to something more constructive than we have seen so far.
Q: Did you expect a more friendly tone from this administration than from the others?
V.Churkin: No, I think it was friendly enough, given the circumstances, and given the subject which we were discussing. Well, I wouldn't want to call it friendly but I think it was an [interrupted]…
Q: She said aggressive actions, I wonder what you make of that? She said sanctions would remain…
V.Churkin: It's something which we have heard before. Well, let's see. I don't want to make any predictions. In any case, my intention is to try to do my best, to establish a good working relationship with the new head of the US delegation. As I said in the Council, we may have some differences on some individual issues from time to time, but the fact remains that she (Ambassador Nikki Haley) is going to play a very important role in whether or not the SC will be able to play a role as a collective international body carrying the main responsibility for international peace and security. So, I wish her well in this regard. We are going to be there to try to make that possible from our perspective.
Q: Is it clear to you what the US position now is over the last several days of violence?
V.Churkin: I heard this statement. I hope the US will play a more active role in making sure that the violence stops than so far has been the case. I'm referring to the previous administration and that clearly they are the people who are listened to in Kiev so I hope they can exercise their influence in the right direction, in the direction of the speedy implementation of the Minsk Agreements and putting an end to this conflict.
Q: What about the easing of sanctions today of the FSB by the Trump Administration?
V.Churkin: This is not my area and, as you know, we have repeated it many times, we are not discussing the sanctions. The easing of sanctions – we are not discussing that. It's a decision to be made by those who have imposed those sanctions, so under no circumstances we'll discuss any sanctions.
Q: Trump administration more friendly?
V.Churkin: They are just in their first few days so it would be frivolous of me to try to — more friendly, less friendly. You know, this is a hard political reality. We are dealing with certain very difficult problems, so we’ll see how things are going to develop. Of course, I think our position is very obvious. If there is an opportunity to have better relations with the US, if there is an opportunity for us to work better with the US to deal with various international problems which are extremely complicated and acute, then we should take this opportunity.
Q: Do you expect more action on Iran after yesterday? Here at the UNSC?
V.Churkin: I cannot make any predictions, I cannot.
Q: Ambassador, you've been here at the UN a long time…
V.Churkin: Thank you for reminding me.
Q: You love it! How does Russia prepare? Do you say "all right, another US ambassador, I'm going to train her."
V.Churkin: No, definitely not in a training mode, no. I have this principle which I think served me well over the years, I never underestimate my colleagues. I never underestimate my colleagues and I think Ambassador Haley is definitely bringing in a lot of credentials and a lot of very powerful records so it will be extremely interesting to work with her.
Q: Have you met her one-on-one yet?
V.Churkin: I think we are supposed to meet tomorrow.