Accessibility links

Breaking News

Lavrov Lashes at "Russophobia"

FILE: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov looks into the camera during a news conference after his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken about tensions over Ukraine, in Geneva, Switzerland,. Taken 1.21.2022

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at the UNGA podium, bitterly criticized Western nations Saturday over the Ukraine war, telling the United Nations that the United States and its allies sought to "destroy" his country.

"The official Russophobia in the West is unprecedented. Now the scope is grotesque," Lavrov said in a fiery UN General Assembly speech delivered Saturday afternoon.

"They are not shying away from declaring the intent to inflict not only military defeat on our country but also to destroy and fracture Russia."

"Declaring themselves victorious in the Cold War, Washington erected themselves almost into an envoy of God on Earth, without any obligations but the sacred right to act with impunity wherever and wherever they want," he said.

After days of Western leaders denouncing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Lavrov used Russia's turn at the General Assembly rostrum to hit back at pressure on Moscow led by Washington.

The United States, he said, was expanding the Monroe Doctrine -- its 19th-century declaration of Latin America as its exclusive sphere of influence -- and "trying to turn the entire world into its own backyard."

Lavrov added "It's pure, unadulterated dictatorship, or an attempt to impose it."

He also defended referendums Friday in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, describing them as people claiming land "where their ancestors have been living for hundreds of years."

"The West is now throwing a fit" on the referendums, Lavrov said.

US President Joe Biden and other Western leaders have vowed never to accept results from what he and other leaders call the "sham" referendums, seeing them as part of an effort to change borders by force.

Biden rebuffed statements by Putin that Russia was threatened, telling the General Assembly "No one threatened Russia. No one but Russia sought conflict."

Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin's attack on Ukraine since February is "a significant violation of the U.N. Charter,"

The United States and its Western allies have imposed a barrage of sanctions on Moscow following its attack upon Ukraine, which has caused a notable strain on the Russian economy and walled the nation off from normal international commerce.

This report was compiled with information from Reuters and Agence France-Presse