Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stormed out of a UN security meeting today after a misleading speech accusing “totalitarian” Ukraine of “neo-Nazism” and “Russophobia.”
It came after France, the current head of the Security Council, convened a special session in New York to emphasize the need for accountability for the atrocities in Ukraine.
Although Lavrov was not caught on camera leaving the room, his early departure was referenced by British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.
“He’s left the room, I’m not surprised, I don’t think Mr Lavrov wants to hear the collective condemnation of this council,” Mr Cleverly said.
Lavrov told the Council that there has been a story that Russian aggression started the war when he lashed out at Western accusations.
“There has been an attempt today to impose on us a very different story about Russian aggression as the origin of this tragedy,” Lavrov said.
He accused Ukraine of ‘Russophobia’, including by imposing Ukrainian language rules.
“The United States and its allies, with the cooperation of international human rights organizations, have reported on the crimes committed by the regime in Kiev,” Lavrov added.
The foreign minister also accused Ukraine of becoming a “Nazi-like state” in a disjointed speech.
“We have no doubt that Ukraine has become a completely totalitarian Nazi-like state where the standards of international humanitarian law have been violated,” Lavrov said.
He added: “We have no illusions that the armed forces of Russia and the militias of Lugansk and Donetsk are being opposed today not only by the neo-Nazi formations of the Kiev regime, but also by the military machine of the collective West.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (pictured) stormed out of a UN security meeting after a misleading speech accusing ‘totalitarian’ Ukraine of ‘Russophobia’
Speaking at the Security Council meeting in New York, Lavrov accused the West of “covering up the crimes of the Kiev regime”
Before the meeting began, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wryly told reporters that he intended to maintain a “safe social distance” from Lavrov.
And before Vladimir Putin’s attack dog Lavrov entered the room, council workers prepared to put up a sign saying Ukraine’s seat next to Russia’s, but Kuleba objected, moving his seat.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on every member of the UN General Assembly to send “a clear message” to Russia that it must end its nuclear threats.
Putin said earlier this week that his nuclear-prepared army “will certainly use all available resources” to defend the country.
Blinken demanded that Putin be held accountable while facing Russia during a session where the United Nations took stock of abuses in Ukraine.
“The highly international order that we have gathered here to maintain is being shattered before our very eyes,” Blinken told the Security Council.
“We can – we won’t – let President Putin get away with it.”
Blinken accused Putin of adding “fuel to the fire” with recent moves, including calling up reservists and planning referendums in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory, just as Kiev was making strong gains locally.
The top US diplomat said it was critical to demonstrate that “no country can forcibly redraw another’s borders.”
“If we don’t defend this principle while the Kremlin is so blatantly violating it, we’ll be sending the message to aggressors everywhere that they can ignore it too.”
World leaders and senior diplomats from around the world came to New York this week for the annual meeting, attended by Mr Cleverly as part of a UK delegation led by Liz Truss – his first overseas trip since taking on the role.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly (pictured) referred to Lavrov’s departure and suggested he didn’t want to hear the ‘collective condemnation of this council’
The foreign minister, who spoke right after Lavrov’s delusional speech, accused Russia of even more lies.
“Today I listened to further episodes of Russia’s catalogs of distortions, dishonesty and misinformation,” he added.
Mr Cleverly also added that the “devastating consequences of the Russian invasion are becoming clearer every day”.
“We are seeing mounting evidence of Russian atrocities against civilians, including indiscriminate shelling and targeted attacks on more than 200 medical facilities and 40 educational institutions and horrific acts of sexual violence,” he said.
Mr Cleverly argued that Putin plans to “fabricate” a referendum on the part of Russia to be held in Russian-controlled regions of eastern and southern Ukraine.
He said: “We have information that means we know that Russia is about to hold mock referendums on sovereign Ukrainian territory with no legal basis under threat of violence after mass displacements of people in areas that overwhelmingly voted for Ukrainian independence.
The special meeting was convened by the head of the Security Council France in an effort to raise awareness of responsibility in Ukraine
“We know what Vladimir Putin is doing. He plans to fabricate the outcome of those referendums, he plans to use it to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory, and he plans to use it as a further pretext to escalate his aggression.
“We call on all countries to reject this charade and not recognize any results.”
Russia is in the minority on the Security Council, but any meaningful action against Ukraine by the 15-member body has been hampered because it is a permanent member with a veto.
But Blinken told the meeting earlier that “one man chose this war, one man can end it.”
The Security Council meeting came on the heels of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s demand for world leaders to punish Russia in a video address delivered on Wednesday, just hours after Moscow made an extraordinary announcement that it would mobilize some reservists for the war effort.
Backed by a counter-offensive that has recaptured parts of Russian-captured territory, Zelensky vowed that his forces would not stop until they recaptured all of Ukraine.
“We can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory. We can do it by force of arms,” the president said in a speech in English. “But we need time.”