Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a news conference on the results of Russian diplomacy in 2018 Moscow, January 16, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen, We are delighted to welcome you to this traditional news conference on the results of our foreign policy performance last year. We would like this meeting to take place, just as before, in the form of a direct dialogue. Therefore, I will try to keep my opening remarks as concise as possible, especially since President Vladimir Putin has already spoken about our approaches to the main current topics more than once, including at his annual news conference held on December 20, 2018, as well as during the interviews he gave to Serbian newspapers yesterday.

Information on the Implementation of the Tax Free System in the Russian Federation

Since April 2018, the value-added tax refund system (Tax Free System) has been launched in the Russian Federation. To be eligible for a VAT refund, you must be a citizen of a foreign country...

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, December 13, 2018

We are closely monitoring this situation. We note the absolutely unacceptable treatment of this Russian citizen by the US authorities. Maria Butina is a young woman from civil society. She did not engage in anything reprehensible. Things that the US authorities allow themselves in relation to Ms Butina are too much to take even by a person with special training. Again, we demand that Washington observe her legal rights and that Ms Butina be released from prison as soon as possible.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Fund for Supporting and Protecting the Rights of Compatriots Living Abroad, Moscow, December 10, 2018

Providing all-round assistance and support to our compatriots are among the undeniable priorities of Russia's foreign policy. A month ago, the 6th World Congress of Compatriots Living Abroad was held, where President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin spoke. He confirmed that we will resolutely defend the rights and interests of the representatives of Russian communities and use all existing bilateral and multilateral mechanisms for this. The Congress identified specific objectives for the future.

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, December 5, 2018

We are outraged by the pressure that the American authorities are exerting on Russian citizen Maria Butina, who was arrested in the US last summer on trumped-up charges. Once more, her detention terms have been toughened. She is in solitary confinement for 22 hours per day. Ms Butina is not receiving proper medical care. We consider this an attempt to intimidate and break her down ahead of the court hearing - I should note once again on a fabricated case - scheduled for December 19.
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