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Russia's Lavrov Criticizes West At UN

  • RFE/RL

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to the UN General Assembly on September 27. (file photo)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to the UN General Assembly on September 27. (file photo)

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has launched a blistering attack on the United States and its Western allies, saying they are acting in defiance of the sovereign right of nations.

In his September 27 speech, Lavrov said the United States must abandon its claims to "eternal uniqueness," accusing it of resorting to military interference to defend its interests.

"Military interference has become the norm, despite the dismal outcome of all operations of force that the United States has carried out over recent years," he said.

The foreign minister cited the NATO air campaign in the former Yugoslavia, the Iraq War, the campaign in Libya, and the Afghanistan mission as examples of U.S.-led military actions that led to "chaos and instability."

In Syria, where the United States is leading an aerial campaign, Lavrov said the fight against the Islamic State extremist group should be coordinated with the Damascus regime, a Russian ally.

Lavrov also criticized NATO for its "hostile rhetoric" toward Russia, saying it shows the military alliance’s inability to change its Cold War "genetic code."

He charged that the "U.S.-led Western alliance" is portraying itself as a "champion of democracy" when in fact they were "trying to decide for everyone what is good or evil."

He accused the United States and European Union of seeking to “expand the geopolitical area that is under their control, without taking into account the balance of interests of all the people of Europe."

According to the Russian foreign minister, Ukraine has "fallen victim" to the West’s "arrogant policy," asserting that the United States and the European Union supported a "coup" that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in February.

Lavrov said Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March was the choice of the largely Russian-speaking population there.

He reiterated that Moscow is "sincerely interested" in the restoration of peace in Ukraine, where he said a way out of the crisis is "within reach" if support is denied to the "party of war" in Kyiv.

Lavrov also called for those guilty of the bloodshed in Ukraine to be identified and brought to justice, saying it will otherwise be "hard to count on national reconciliation."

He made no mention of Western allegations that Russia has sent troops and weapons into eastern Ukraine in support of pro-Russian separatists.

But he said Russia has sent "large supplies of weapons and military equipment" to Iraq, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries and will continue its military support.

Earlier on September 27, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier accused Russia of breaking international law by unilaterally changing the existing borders in Europe.

He told the UN General Assembly that the tensions between Russia and Ukraine are not just a regional conflict, but affect the whole international community.

"We must not allow the old division between East and West to re-emerge in the United Nations," Steinmeier said

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Interfax
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