Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday (September 23) denounced the United States and the West alleging that they continue to “fuel conflicts”, however, did not discuss war in Ukraine in his UNGA address.
“The U.S. and its subordinate Western collective are continuing to fuel conflicts which artificially divide humanity into hostile blocks and hamper the achievement of overall aims. They’re doing everything they can to prevent the formation of a genuine multipolar world order,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
Lavrov accused the West of trying to “force the world” to play according to “their own self-centered rules”.
He recapped some historical complaints dating back to 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union and referred to the billions of dollars that the US and Western allies spent in supporting Ukraine. However, the Russian Minister did not talk about the current ongoing war in Ukraine for 19 months.
The General Assembly is taking place for a second year in a row with a war which does not seem to end anytime soon.
Ukraine’s chairs in the Assembly hall were empty for at least part of the Russian Minister’s speech.
Later, addressing a press conference, Lavrov said that the US was “effectively engaged in hostilities with us, using the Ukrainians as fodder”.
“You can call this whatever you want to call this, but they are directly at war with us. We call this a hybrid war. But that doesn’t change the reality,” he said.
Lavrov spoke four days after Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy and U.S. President Joe Biden addressed the UNGA.
Zelenskyy accused Russia of “weaponizing” food, energy and even children against Ukraine and “the international rules-based order” at large.
Russia has given a number of explanations, since invading Ukraine in February 2022, for what it terms “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Leaders from both countries - Lavrov and Zelenskyy - addressed the UN Security Council on Wednesday, however, did not face off. Zelenskyy left the room before Lavrov came in.
Lavrov did not enter during Zelenskyy’s speech at the UNGA but rejected his 10-point peace plan as “not feasible” and “not realistic” during the press conference following his speech.
“I had my own affairs to attend to. We know what he’s going to say. Why waste time?” the Russian said to explain his absence.
Nonetheless, he said he’d watched video of the Ukrainian president’s remarks there and in the Security Council and thought “he seemed rather grim.”
(With AP inputs)