Top Russia diplomat Sergey Lavrov bitterly criticises Western nations over Ukraine conflict, telling UN General Assembly that United States has erected itself as "envoy of God on Earth".
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has bitterly criticised Western nations over the Ukraine conflict, telling the United Nations that the United States and its allies are seeking to "destroy" his country.
"The official Russophobia in the West is unprecedented. Now the scope is grotesque," Lavrov said on Saturday in a fiery UN General Assembly speech.
"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."
After days of Western leaders denouncing Russia's offensive in 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 "trying to turn the entire world into its own backyard."
Invoking history ranging from the US war in Iraq in the early 2000s to the 20th-century Cold War to a 19th-century US policy that essentially proclaimed American influence over the Western Hemisphere, Lavrov portrayed the US as a bully that tries to afford itself "the sacred right to act with impunity wherever and wherever they want" and can't accept a world where others also advance their national interests.
"Declaring themselves victorious in the Cold War, Washington erected themselves almost into an envoy of God on Earth," operating with impunity as the "self-proclaimed masters of the world," he said.
Lavrov also targeted Washington's Taiwan stance as well as the Western sanctions on Moscow over the war in Ukraine.
"They're playing with fire around Taiwan. On top of that, they're promising military support to Taiwan," Lavrov said.
Demonstrations in several cities in Russia followed protests that erupted within hours Wednesday after Putin announced a call-up of experienced and skilled army reservists. Journalist Dasha Chernyshova reports from Moscow pic.twitter.com/7rujtSevNo— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 24, 2022
Lavrov mocks US, West 'hysteria'
He also defended referendums on Friday and Saturday 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.
He said the regions would be under Russia's "full protection" if they are annexed by Moscow.
US President Joe Biden and other Western leaders have vowed never to accept results from the "sham" referendums, seeing them as part of an effort to change borders by force.
In a lengthy press conference after his speech, Lavrov further mocked as "hysteria" the American and Western response to the polls in Kremlin-held regions of southern and eastern Ukraine, including Donetsk and Luhansk.
"Russia, of course, will respect the expression of the will of those people who for many long years have been suffering from the abuses of the neo-Nazis," he said, repeating a Moscow accusation against some officials in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's government.
Lavrov also slammed the European Union as "becoming an authoritarian, harsh, dictatorial entity."
Russia faced broad condemnation at this week's UN General Assembly, particularly after President Vladimir Putin issued a veiled threat to use nuclear force against any menace to Russia's "territorial integrity."
When asked to clarify Russia's nuclear policy, particularly regarding Ukraine and the separatist regions, Lavrov was vague.
"We have a doctrine for nuclear security which is an open document" laying out the cases in which use of the destructive weapons is acceptable, he said.