this is bbc news. we'll have the headlines and all the main news stories for you at the top of the hour, as newsday continues straight after hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. economies across the industrialised world are feeling the strain of soaring fossil fuel energy costs. but the bad news for energy consumers represents a potential bonanza for the biggest producers. step forward gas—rich russia, ideally placed to exert growing influence in europe's energy market.
well, my guest is sergei ryabkov, russia's deputy minister of foreign affairs. given moscow's increasingly tense relations with the west, will energy deepen the mistrust? minister sergei ryabkov in moscow, welcome to hardtalk. thank you for having me. minister, we must start with the soaring cost of fossil fuel energy, particularly natural gas. russia possesses vast quantities of natural gas. it supplies 40% of the natural gas going into europe.
there's deep concern in europe about the leverage that gives moscow. are you prepared right now to alleviate those concerns? very much so. in fact, this is exactly what we have done in recent days and weeks, including with direct and personal involvement of president putin, who spoke very forcefully in favour of doing maximum on the part of russia to stabilise this market. we are the most secure, reliable and forward—looking supplier of natural energy to europe. we have always been such a supplier and we will continuously work to this end. we invite all the colleagues in the european union and beyond, including our neighbours, to recognise this simple fact — we favour energy
security of europe. we want to work collaboratively with them, with countries in europe, and with the european union for that case in order to ensure that there will be no jumps like the current one. but if you're so determined to send that message, why is it that, according to the international energy agency, russia is providing less gas to europe today than it did before the coronavirus pandemic? and the iea believes russia could, quote, definitely do more to increase gas availability to europe. why aren't you? gazprom has in fact started pumping out from its reserves into the pipelines to stabilise the market. i believe the demand skyrocketed against the background of very slow winds that in many ways
negatively affected renewables, especially in northern europe and in great britain, for that case, in the uk. i am not an expert here. i do recognise that there are such sentiments widely spread out, but i'd also refer to it as an element of what we believe is an in—and—out information war that the west continues to, you know, rage to apply on russia on all sorts of pretexts and in all sorts of situations. well... you believe we are always to be blamed for everything. we know this. we work deliberately, quietly, soberly towards stabilisation. it's not in our interest
to rock the boat further. you pointed to putin saying that he would do his best to stabilise gas prices, but you could also have pointed to the words of deputy prime minister and energy minister alexander novak, who said very recently that, in his view, european certification of the nord stream 2 pipeline so that it could actually be used, because we know it's been built, but it isn't being used yet, he said certification for use would definitely cool soaring european gas prices. now to many in europe, that sounds a little bit like an implicit threat that if they don't do what you want with regard to nord stream 2, then there could be problems ahead this winter. it means, mr sackur, that your preferred option would be not to certify so that prices soar further. i will say that we are talking here on a market that is kept in the hands of those who, through spelling out
policies and approaches, determine what will happen in the next few weeks and months. we would prefer to have here a bear market. russia is about bears. now it's not about bullies, it's about bears. this is where we work towards for. well, when you say a bear market, what do you mean? you'd prefer a market where the gas price stays sky—high? no, bears are those who play on the exchange for a downward trend. i see. and bullies are those who play upwards. what do you make of the american position? jake sullivan gave an interview to us at the bbc just the other day. he said, "we have long been concerned about russia using energy as a tool of coercion and a political weapon. we've seen it happen before. we could see it happen again. it would be a mistake for russia to try this." how does moscow respond to that sort of language? this is just shameless,
that they continuously repeat the very same tune and melody. we have never been in a position to exert pressure through our energy supplies. we're interested in a stable market, in an approach to both consumers and suppliers that ensures predictability, and people are confident in what's going on. we are not interested in any way to use this as a political weapon. now, look, what we see during the previous administration, what we saw during the previous administration and what we saw under the current administration in the us is simply an attempt to decouple europe from russia's energy supplies for its own fortune, for its own advantages, for introduction of american gas, natural gas and crude to european market at prices
much higher than those offered by russia, at least before this current situation on the markets. and you know, it always happened this way. when the us earlier, behind curtains, behind closed doors, tried to impress and impose upon its allies in europe something that it would be for their own advantage and to the disadvantage of russia. now it happens at open, at open stage, and they simply enjoy this. this is political pornography. you know, what i call it. there's a paradox here. the world clearly wants russia's gas, because the world needs it to keep its economies going. on the other hand, the world also wants to see carbon emissions reduced, and reduced dramatically, for a decarbonisation of the world economy. now the question is, is russia... when it comes to the looming cop26 summit of the world's nations in glasgow, the hope
is that that will lead to new commitments to cut emissions. is russia going to play ball? because at the moment you're one of the dirtiest polluting countries on earth. are you going to change? this is not true. dirtiest and dirtiest ones say that the russian natural gas is one of the dirtiest products. well, you're number 52 out of the 57 high—emitting carbon emission countries in the world. so i wouldn't say your performance is great right now. you may say out of 67 or 87, whatever. i mean, we know what we are doing. we have developed the most clean, the cleanest possible technology, both of production and transportation of natural gas and other resources. and we intend to limit and diminish, to cut down our carbon impact according to the state policy that was agreed in interagency format and presented formally to counterparts. we have engaged in a meaningful dialogue with both the us,
uk, european union, european commission, and we focused the work towards full implementation of this global agenda. you should also understand and recognise the role which russia plays in the area of carbon sinking through vast forest resources. we also do think that it would be fair to say that others should do more in order to make sure that this transfer to modern forces like our natural gas is done faster and not slower because of speculations on what is going on in europe right now. were you embarrassed when the nobel committee awarded, jointly awarded the nobel peace prize this year to a senior russian independentjournalist because of his "courageous stand for the principle of free expression in the most challenging and difficult
of circumstances? " was that embarrassing to you? no, not at all. it's just a sign on how the nobel prize committee slowly degenerates into a body that is driven by the idea of political correctness, as understood by the board of that committee. and soon we will also see how these people would judge on physics, chemistry, health care and everything else based on their ideas on political correctness and not on meritocracy that we favour and that we promote. if i may say so, your cynicism about the award isn't matched by dmitry peskov, the senior spokesman inside the kremlin. because he said of mr muratov, dmitry muratov, the joint winner of the award this year, the editor in chief of novaya gazeta, he said that muratov persistently works in accordance
with his own ideals. he's devoted to them. he is talented. he is brave. so you don't share peskov�*s opinion, don't you? i do. i have no... i see no contradiction between what i said and what he said. he spoke on muratov, i spoke on the nobel prize committee. so the basic question for you, then, is do you think muratov deserves it? i think muratov delivers a product which he promises to his audience and does so in a very talented manner, exactly as the press secretary of our president pronounced. why do you think that during muratov�*s tenure as editor and editor in chief of novaya gazeta, six of his journalists have been murdered? i have no idea. no idea at all? could it be that they're independent—minded journalists who seek the truth and often challenge power and your government? ourjournalists are independent enough to develop their ideas,
to pursue their profession in a manner that clearly fits into the set of their ideas and the set of principles and purposes that they serve and the degree of independence is a debatable issue for every journalist. i would not try to, you know, switch into a blame game here. ijust have a question whether you see your corporation as an independent one. well, i think that's... it's a great question. i guess my question to you, because obviously i'm asking the questions today, my question to you is why are you so frightened of the bbc and other independent media outlets? we are not frightened at all. we freely talk. the more you would invite us to engage with you, the better. but the policy which the uk government pursues towards our
media, including rt, sputnik and others like ruptly, is just a shame for a country that tries to position itself as the major proponent of freedom of speech. yeah, but the point is that in the last couple of days, you've chosen as a government — of course not yourself personally — but as a government you've chosen to label a colleague of mine who works for bbc russian, andrei zakharov, label him as a quote unquote "foreign agent." now, we all know our history. that's a term that was in the past used to describe political dissidents by the soviets. why are you doing this? we just rented this term from the us legislation back from 1938 and replicated it in a much mellower, much mellower way. requirements for individuals
and entities to register themselves as foreign agents are very, very, i would say, liberal in russia compared to what we have in the us, for instance. so those who receive grants and finance from outside, from foreign governments, they are obliged to register themselves as a foreign agent. yes, that's right. andrei zakharov, of course, has done none of those things. he is completely independent journalist working to the bbc�*s values, but now every single report he makes, every tweet he issues, has to be labelled as coming from this quote unquote "foreign agent." do you really think that's acceptable and do you think it helps the outside world believe in your assurances that russia is committed to freedom and democracy? the moment our colleagues in washington, dc, and elsewhere remove restrictions for our media outlets to operate freely, allow our people to attend
events, remove the requirement not to mandatory label their productions as being developed by foreign agents. at this very moment, all these requirements will be removed here as well. this is a game of reciprocity, a mirror game. well... you should look into this mirror before you ask us to do something. but, minister, it isn't all about reciprocity and there isn't equivalence, is there? because... this is just reciprocity. well, let's dig deeper into how russia runs its own political system, because what you've done is you've locked up the main opponent of vladimir putin on charges which independent observers regard as completely trumped up. you've, in the last couple of days, declared alexei navalny to be an extremist, which in effect is branding him a terrorist under russian law. his whole political movement has been branded as extreme, which means they cannot operate.
that wouldn't happen in the united states or the united kingdom to an opponent of the ruling party or government, so there is no equivalence. please have a look, sir, on what happened with those who entered the building of congress on the 6th of january, how many of them were arrested, how long they were sentenced for, and how much of this type transpired in the us in all quietness of global media outlets like bbc. so you equate navalny, the leader of a movement and anti—corruption campaigner, you equate him with individuals who actually commit acts of violence and storm political buildings, do you? no, i don't equate him to anyone or with anything. he was sentenced for some criminal misdeeds in a very open process, and now he serves his sentence for this. for everything else, this is a different story.
ijust referred to what happens, what happened and continues to happen in the us as an example of how people in major media outlets are crying out on one thing and keeping completely quiet on some other things which at least deserve the same degree of attention. as a senior russian diplomat, does it bother you when the outside world sees, for example, the recent duma elections and concludes that they were by no means free and fair and also sees vladimir putin and his government's attempts now to control the big tech companies and control how they operate, particularly in terms of their political coverage? we look at all of that happening and we see authoritarianism and repression, and you don't care.
well, we listen to you and others that promote this set of ideas with interest because it affects the situation in the world. clearly, we cannot simply disregard this. but we do believe and do understand. a situation like a very deep, deep and deeply rooted division between my country and the so—called historic west. fortunately, the world doesn't limit itself these days for the historic west, and i can speak on every single element of what you have pronounced for, sir. we have... you have your narrative, we have ours. it's hard to build bridges. in all frankness, i do think the most we could hope for and work for between russia and european union and us
on the other side. i'm not talking on global britain because i don't know yet what it would mean in practical terms, but at least with those two interlocutors, it's a contractual relationship with no illusions, with no ambitions to do business where it's possible and to keep our differences as much as possible, separate and apart from what we may do in terms of strengthening global security, international stability and so on and so forth. how big a problem, then, is the real difference of opinion between moscow and washington and what is happening in terms of cyber crime and cyber security? president biden said a few months ago that mr putin would pay for russian interference in the 2020 us election and of course, the 2016 us election, as described in washington. and just a few days ago, the us government's cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency directorjen easterly said that
russia had not significantly changed its behaviour in cyberspace since biden�*s warnings to putin. how big a problem is this? three points to this. number one — we have established a formal structure channel for our interaction with the us on this and related issues and all the agencies that have a say here participate. i didn't hear complaints from the us counterpart to the end, as you have described, sir, when my colleagues talk to their us counterparts at this channel and through this channel. number two, i think we should expand the agenda. with all due respect to the need to defeat cybercrime and all sorts of criminal activities in this area, we need to think also of broader issues like malign
impact of cyber technology ict international information and communication technology on critical infrastructure, on elements of control and command in the military and otherwise. we have proposed so to the us. their response is yet to be heard for. number three — we are equally prepared to move further forward globally to develop a legally binding instrument that would guide us to a more stable and predictable situation in this area. 0k. well, you've made your three points. ijust want to end with one more question because you've alluded to the fact you fear that the current tensions with the west could affect a whole range of relations. perhaps the most important of all is the nuclear issue and non—proliferation. now, the intermediate range
nuclear forces treaty is dead. it has ended. how worried are you that the tensions you describe in the relationship between the us and russia are now affecting that most profound element of all, the nuclear relationship? yes, i am quite concerned, sir. but let me finish my third point. we just want to cooperatively work with the us and others towards a possible collegial and hopefully consensual solution on this issue. and now on this, we are deeply concerned by what we see is an approaching new missile crisis in europe. we have just seen a new contract signed in the us to produce intermediate range capabilities. we have seen no desire on the part of nato to refrain from deployment of such capabilities in europe, and it's not sufficient that
nato declares no intention to deploy a nuclear armed weapons. for us, it's no difference whether it's no nuclear or nuclear armed because they are of strategic reach to russia. so our preferred course would be to introduce mutual moratoria and to do those verifiable ones so that both sides kind of believe in what is being spelled out because there is no such thing as trust and confidence in one another. i recognise this, and there will be no trust for the foreseeable future between russia and the west. with that thought, sergei ryabkov, i thank you very much forjoining me on hardtalk. thank you. i thank you.
hello. there were some bright spots on tuesday. some of us got to see a bit of sunshine. but for many places, extensive cloud was the main weatherfeature, spilling down from the northwest, thick enough at times to produce some spots of rain and drizzle. and wednesday is looking like a very similar day. it will be mostly but not completely dry, often but not completely cloudy. where the cloud has broken, it is going to be quite a chilly start to the day, but most areas beginning with a lot of cloud, some mist and murk, some spots of rain and drizzle. now, through the day, i am hopeful that cloud will break a little bit. eastern scotland should see some sunny spells. parts of northern ireland, england and wales will see the cloud thinning and breaking to reveal some brighter interludes. top temperatures between 14 and 17 degrees, light winds
down towards the south, but it will be quite breezy further north. through wednesday night into thursday, this cloud continues to feed in with some mist and hill fog, some spots of rain and temperatures of 9 to 11 degrees. some more persistent rain, though, beginning to develop in the north of scotland, and that's the first sign of a change. this weather front dropping into the picture during thursday will bring some outbreaks of rain southwards across scotland, that rain particularly heavy and persistent in the northwest highlands, some of that rain getting into northern ireland later in the day accompanied by a strong wind and a wind that will change direction and will start to come down from the north, bringing the first hint of some colder air into northern scotland. further south, england and wales mainly dry, often cloudy. once again, 16 or 17 degrees. but as we move through thursday night into friday, that weather front will make progress southwards. you can tell from the blue triangles that this is a cold front. that means it is introducing colder air, the blue shades spreading southwards across the chart for friday.
across the northern half of the uk, friday is likely to begin with a touch of frost, and it certainly will feel chillier. but what the front is also doing is it's clearing a lot of the cloud away, so there will be more in the way of sunshine. 15 or 16 degrees down towards the south, but further north — look at that — just 9 in aberdeen. but that colder spell won't last all that long. milder conditions will return from the west during the weekend. with that, we'll start to see some outbreaks of rain.
hello, welcome to newsday, reporting live from singapore. i'm mariko oi. the headlines: welcome to newsday. reporting live from singapore, i'm mariko oi. the headlines — a damning report on the uk's handling of the covid pandemic, calling it one of the worst national public health failures ever. world leaders pledge to help