Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell "chickened out" of talking to Russia.
The top American and European diplomats, who were attending the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) summit in Europe, both left the event early because they were simply too afraid to engage in a frank and substantive dialog with Russia, RT quoted Lavrov as saying at a press conference in Skopje, North Macedonia, on Friday.
Lavrov told reporters after the OSCE summit that Blinken had left the ministerial meeting before his arrival, “fleeing” from the event.
The top Russian diplomat also noted that some local newspapers were trying to cast a shadow over Russia by publishing a photo of the summit’s participants with the Russian foreign minister conspicuously absent, in an apparent effort to convince the public that Moscow was isolated over the Ukraine conflict.
Lavrov explained that those pictures had been taken before the official opening of the summit, stressing that photos published on the next day showed all the participants, including the top Russian diplomat.
The top Russian diplomat pointed out that at the Skopje summit, foreign ministers from Ukraine, Poland and Baltic states were all absent, adding that, “I believe both Blinken and [top EU diplomat Josep] Borrell left as well. They might say that they are emphasizing their intention to isolate Russia, but I think they are just afraid, scared of an honest conversation with facts at hand.”
According to Lavrov, some European foreign ministers were trying to avoid talking about Western “shenanigans” aimed at denying Russian diplomats access to various international events, including UN and UNESCO meetings.
The Skopje summit had been boycotted by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. In a joint statement, the three countries claimed that Lavrov’s attendance at the event “risks legitimizing aggressor Russia as a rightful member of our community of free nations.” Polish Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek shared these countries’ position, saying that Warsaw could not ignore the fact that Lavrov “will be present at the table of the organization that is supposed to build peace and security in Europe.”
The top Russian diplomat, nonetheless, took part in the summit and held high-level meetings with several participants on the sidelines of the Skopje summit.
Lavrov also delivered an important speech to those at the summit, sounding the alarm for fellow European members that the OSCE had digressed into a “deplorable state” due to “short-sighted” choices that were made by some Western states.
In his address to the OSCE Ministerial Council on Thursday, Lavrov said the future of the OSCE is “unclear” and after decades of efforts to build the organization, it was now “on the brink of the abyss.”
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