Russian minister laughed at, ridiculed over false war claims
Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has been laughed at and ridiculed around the world after falsely claiming that the war in Ukraine was "launched against us".
Speaking at the Raisina Dialogue conference in India, Lavrov attempted to respond to a question about energy use when he interjected with comments about the ongoing war in Ukraine, which he claims was waged against Moscow.
"The war, which we are trying to stop, which was launched against us," Lavrov said, before crowds of laughter by audience members cut him off.
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"Using Ukrainian people," he went on, before laughter again erupted him mid-speech.
A voice is then heard again interrupting the minister saying: "Come on".
He then continues to speak on how the war "influenced Russia's energy policy" before changing topics.
It comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Lavrov on Thursday for the first time since the war in Ukraine began more than a year ago.
The brief contact on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting in New Delhi marked a significant moment, as high-level engagements between the US and Russia became exceedingly rare since the start of the war last February.
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Their conversation took place not only against the backdrop of the ongoing war – and stern warnings to the Chinese about materially supporting Russia's conflict – but also amid deteriorating bilateral relations.
Moscow has suspended its participation in the New START Treaty, the only remaining nuclear arms control agreement between Russia and the US, and it continues to hold American Paul Whelan in what the State Department has deemed as wrongful detention.
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Blinken raised those three key issues – the war, New START, and Whelan – in his roughly 10-minute-long engagement with Lavrov, according to a State Department official travelling with the top US diplomat. Blinken was the one to initiate the conversation, the official and Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maria Zakharova both said.
However, the official noted that there aren't high expectations the meeting will lead to a breakthrough on key issues of tension between the countries.
"I wouldn't say that coming out of this encounter there was any expectation that things will change in the near term," the State Department official told the travelling press.
– With reporting from CNN
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