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13 Apr, 2023 08:21

Russia blasts US over treatment of Lavrov

Washington must allow the arrival of the foreign minister’s plane without any conditions, Russia’s ambassador has insisted
Bryan R. Smith / AFP

The US must greenlight Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s flight to New York so he can attend UN events at the end of April, Anatoly Antonov, the ambassador to Washington, said on Thursday. He described the clearance delay as “incomprehensible.”

“The US authorities have not yet sanctioned the arrival of the aircraft,” Antonov said. He added that Moscow expects the “Americans to promptly grant the flight permission without any conditions or restrictions.”

The US has imposed sanctions on multiple Russian officials, including Lavrov, who was blacklisted last year.

According to Antonov, journalists traveling with the Russian delegation were supposed to have a visa appointment on March 31, but the US canceled the meeting at the last minute “without any explanation.” He added that there is “still no certainty” on the matter.

We urge Washington to immediately issue visas for our delegation, as well as for our journalists. Failure to do [so] is a violation of the United States’ obligations as the host country of the UN headquarters, which impedes [the] appropriate, full-fledged functioning… of the organization.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Wednesday that “not a single visa” has been issued to the Russian delegation so far.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters that he expects “the host country will meet its obligations” regarding the visas.

Russia assumed the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council on April 1 amid the continuing standoff with NATO over Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. Kiev has accused Russia of violating international law and has called for the country to be expelled from the UN Security Council and the organization as a whole.

Lavrov stated last month that expelling Russia, one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, is not possible. The Kremlin also said that Russia is committed to carrying out its duties regarding the Security Council presidency despite the tensions with the West.