Taking part in the videoconference were Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin, and Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon,
Let us get to work. We will discuss a number of issues today: current issues of domestic security and the international agenda. As for the latter, we have to finalise our position in view of the US withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies. Moreover, the New START Treaty will expire soon, yet there has been no success with launching meaningful talks on this matter, which is crucial not only for us but also for the entire world. This is why we have to discuss this topic.
Another current issue of great importance, in my view, is that many countries are lifting restrictions that were introduced during the coronavirus pandemic. The front runners are those countries whose economy strongly depends on tourism. That is clear. However, some countries that lifted restrictions earlier have been forced to return to measures to fight the coronavirus infection. We can see that too as it is happening before our eyes. For that reason we must try to understand, together with our specialists, medics and sanitary doctors, how to best organise our work in this area.
As far as I understand and judging from the reports available to me, we have not yet evacuated all Russian citizens who would like to come home, to Russia but got stranded abroad due to the pandemic-related restrictions. The flights that will evacuate them are still being arranged from different countries of the world.
In this connection I have a question for Mr Lavrov. Mr Lavrov, how many Russian citizens who want to come back to Russia remain abroad due to the measures introduced several months ago?
Go ahead, please.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: Based on the decisions taken by the Crisis Management Centre since March 18 of this year, we have evacuated 240,000 Russian citizens, or even slightly more. There are 25,200 remaining abroad, according to the lists that are being verified by the Crisis Management Centre. About ten flights are scheduled for the next few days. Each time our decisions are made with account of the epidemiological situation in our country.
Vladimir Putin: So these are Russian citizens who, let me repeat, got stranded abroad due to the coronavirus infection-related restrictions?
Sergei Lavrov: Yes. The verified lists contain 25,159 names, to be exact.
Vladimir Putin: Many countries whose economy, let me reiterate this, depends on tourism are opening their borders or have declared that they are about to open them. We must discuss everything that will be going on not only inside our country but also around it.
Let us get to work.