Cyprus Mail

EU, US, British envoys walkout as Lavrov delivers speech at UN rights forum

russia's foreign minister sergei lavrov addresses the conference on disarmament, in geneva
Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov addresses the Conference on Disarmament with a pre-recorded video message in Geneva, Switzerland, March 1, 2022. Fabrice COFFRINI / Pool via REUTERS

Dozens of diplomats from the European Union (EU), United States and Britain walked out of a speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the top U.N. human rights forum on Tuesday, according to a Reuters witness.

Lavrov was addressing the U.N. Human Rights Council remotely, having cancelled his attendance earlier due to what the Russian mission in Geneva said on Monday were EU states blocking his flight path.

Russia’s foreign minister told a Geneva disarmament meeting on Tuesday that Kyiv has been seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, calling this a real danger that it needed to prevent.

“Ukraine still has Soviet technologies and the means of delivery of such weapons,” Sergei Lavrov told the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament in a pre-recorded address. “We cannot fail to respond to this real danger.”

He delivered the speech to a thin crowd since many diplomats including France and Britain staged a walk-out to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

They stood in a circle outside the meeting for the duration of Lavrov’s speech, holding a Ukrainian flag. Lavrov was supposed to attend the session in person but the visit was cancelled, with Russia accusing unidentified EU states of blocking his flight path.

At the same meeting, Ukraine’s foreign minister accused Russia of war crimes through its shelling of his country and called for a special meeting to address Russian aggression and weapons of mass destruction.

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Reuters News Service