Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stormed out of a UN Security meeting today after a delusional speech in which he accused ‘totalitarian’ Ukraine of ‘neo-Nazism’ and ‘Russophobia’.
It came after France, the current head of the Security Council, called a special session in New York to highlight the need for accountability for the atrocities seen in Ukraine.
Although Lavrov was not caught on camera leaving the room, his early departure was referenced by UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.
‘He has left the chamber, 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 narrative that Russian aggression initiated the war as he lashed out at Western accusations.
‘There’s an attempt today to impose on us a completely different narrative about Russian aggression as the origin of this tragedy,’ Lavrov said.
He accused Ukraine of ‘Russophobia,’ including through its imposition of Ukrainian language rules.
‘The United States and their allies with the connivance of international human rights organisations have been covering the crimes of the Kyiv regime,’ Lavrov added.
The Foreign Minister also accused Ukraine of becoming a ‘Nazi-like state’ in a rambling speech.
‘We have no doubt that Ukraine has become a completely totalitarian Nazi-like state where the norms of international humanitraian law trampled on,’ Lavrov said.
He added: ‘We have no illusions that today the armed forces of Russia and the militias of Lugansk and Donetsk are being opposed not only by the neo-Nazi formations of the Kiev regime but the military machine of the collective West.’
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (pictured) stormed out of a UN Security meeting after a delusional speech in which he accused ‘totalitarian’ Ukraine of ‘Russophobia’
Lavrov pictured speaking at the Security Council meeting in New York, accused the West of ‘covering up the crimes of the Kyiv regime’
Before the meeting started, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had wryly told reporters that he planned to keep a ‘safe social distance’ from Lavrov.
And before Vladimir Putin’s attack dog Lavrov had entered the room, council staffers prepared to put a placard marking Ukraine’s seat next to Russia’s, but Kuleba objected, leading to his seat being moved.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on every UN General Assembly member to ‘send a clear message’ to Russia that it must stop its nuclear threats.
Putin said earlier this week that his nuclear-ready army will ‘certainly use all means available to us’ to defend the country.
Blinken demanded that Putin be held to account as he faced Russia during a session in which the United Nations catalogued abuses in Ukraine.
‘The very international order we’ve gathered here to uphold is being shredded before our eyes,’ Blinken told the Security Council.
‘We cannot – we will not – let President Putin get away with it.’
Blinken accused Putin of adding ‘fuel to the fire’ with recent steps including calling up reservists and planning referendums in Russian-held Ukrainian territory just as Kyiv made strong gains on the ground.
The top US diplomat said it was critical to show that ‘no nation can redraw the borders of another by force.’
‘If we fail to defend this principle when the Kremlin is so flagrantly violating it, we send the message to aggressors everywhere that they can ignore it, too.’
World leaders and senior diplomats from across the globe descended on New York for the annual meeting this week, with Mr Cleverly attending as part of a UK delegation headed by Liz Truss – his first overseas trip since taking the role.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly (pictured) referenced Lavrov’s departure, suggesting he did not want to hear the ‘collective condemnation of this council’
The Foreign Secretary, who was speaking right after Lavrov’s delusional speech, accused Russia of more lies.
‘Today I have listened to further instalments of Russia’s catalogues of distortions, dishonesty and disinformation,’ he added.
Mr Cleverly also added that the ‘devastating consequences of Russia’s invasion become more clear’ every day.
‘We see the mounting evidence of Russian atrocities against civilians, including indiscriminate shelling and targeted attacks on over 200 medical facilities and 40 educational institutions and horrific acts of sexual violence,’ he said.
Mr Cleverly argued that Putin is planning to ‘fabricate’ a referenda on becoming parts of Russia due to be held in Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine.
He said: ‘We have information which means that we know that Russia is about to hold sham referenda on sovereign Ukrainian territory with no basis in law under the threat of violence after mass displacements of people in areas that voted overwhelmingly for Ukrainian independence.
The special meeting was called by head of the Security Council France in a bid to to highlight accountability in Ukraine
‘We know what Vladimir Putin is doing. He is planning to fabricate the outcome of those referenda, he is planning to use that to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory, and he is planning to use it as a further pretext to escalate his aggression.
‘We call on all countries to reject this charade and to refuse to recognise any results.’
Russia is outnumbered on the Security Council, but any meaningful action on Ukraine by the 15-member body has been hampered because it is a veto-wielding permanent member.
But Blinken earlier told the meeting 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 demands for world leaders to punish Russia in a video speech delivered Wednesday, just hours after Moscow made an extraordinary announcement that it would mobilise some reservists for the war effort.
Buoyed by a counteroffensive that has retaken swaths of territory that the Russians seized, Zelensky vowed that his forces would not stop until they had reclaimed all of Ukraine.
‘We can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory. We can do it with the force of arms,’ the president said in a speech delivered in English. ‘But we need time.’