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PREVIEW: Lavrov’s rapid entry and exit from the United Nations

UNITED NATIONS — As if there wasn’t enough tension.

After days of speeches by world leaders taking subtle and not-so-subtle jabs at Russia for its invasion of Ukraine at the annual United Nations General Assembly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addressed Thursday to the Security Council.

He arrived minutes before he was due to speak, missing earlier remarks by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who had criticized Moscow for what the American described as war crimes and other atrocities.

And then it was Lavrov’s turn to ring the bell, and he did so for several minutes, repeating his country’s frequent claims that Kyiv has long oppressed Russian speakers and that Western support for Ukraine is a threat to Moscow. . All the while, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba watched.

In that short moment, the world watched something rare: the best diplomats from two warring nations in the same room.

They didn’t speak to each other, instead throwing barbs at – or in front of – each other. Kuleba even joked ahead of the meeting that he would maintain “social distancing”.

Lavrov said US policy towards Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy’s government was based on the reasoning that “he’s a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch”. Kuleba then berated Russia for “inappropriate slang”.

And then the moment ended as quickly as it began. As soon as Lavrov finished speaking, he left in a flash.

For more AP coverage of the United Nations General Assembly, visit https://apnews.com/hub/united-nations-general-assembly

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