Lavrov holds ‘Russian Diplomacy 2023’ press conference: Live updates
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is holding a press conference in Moscow on Thursday to discuss the results of Russian diplomacy and share his views on changes in the global landscape in 2023.
The event comes at a time of heightened tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine conflict, as well as the security crisis in the Middle East.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the press conference will be attended by around 190 Russian journalists and 170 members of the foreign press, some of whom will be allowed to ask questions via video link.
Two similar high-profile conferences in 2021 and 2022 lasted almost three hours, with Thursday’s event expected to have a similar duration.
This live stream has ended.
18 January 202410:46 GMT
Israel should not think that the Holocaust gives it carte blanche when it comes to foreign policy, Lavrov said. He acknowledged that while the deliberate extermination of Jews was a “terrible crime,” so was the genocide of the Soviet people during the Nazi invasion.
“According to this logic, we can do whatever we want. That won’t work if we want to systematically uphold international law.”
- 10:43 GMT
Lavrov lamented that memories of the horrors of World War II had begun to fade, accusing national governments of partly being responsible for this. As one example, he claimed that Japan is avoiding any mention that the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Lavrov also recalled that German officials recently removed a memorial inscription honoring the victims of a devastating Allied bombing raid on Dresden in February 1945, several weeks before the end of World War II in Europe.
Although the monument did not say that the attack had been carried out by the US and Britain, local officials still believed that even an “indirect reminder” of the bombing to the “masters” in Washington in London was “superfluous,” Lavrov said.
- 10:11 GMT
The West makes no secret of its desire to push Russia out of the South Caucasus, Lavrov has said, claiming that Armenia has not objected to these plans. At the same time, he stressed that Russia has played an incredibly active mediation role in attempts to settle disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan over trade routes.
Lavrov argued that these issues remain unresolved due to Yerevan’s position, suggesting that it may have been listening to recommendations from foreign parties.
As soon as Western nations understood that Russia’s mediation efforts were bearing fruit, they “began to interfere in these processes without invitation,” Lavrov said, accusing the West of playing the role of “a spoiler.” He expressed doubt that Western nations have the expertise to defuse tensions in the South Caucasus.
- 09:43 GMT
Speculation about direct Russia-Ukraine talks hosted by a third party is merely “rumors,” Lavrov said. “Everyone knows that it is not Ukraine that decides when to stop and seriously discuss the realistic conditions for ending the conflict... you have to talk about it with the West,” the diplomat stated.
Lavrov reiterated that any sustainable peace would require Kiev to drop its NATO ambitions. It should also renounce its “Nazi ideology and rhetoric” and stop its “racist” crackdown on anything related to Russia, he insisted.
- 09:24 GMT
Russia sees no reason to hold talks with the US on strategic stability as long as it wages a “hybrid war” against Moscow by supporting Ukraine, Lavrov said. He stressed that Russia does not reject the notion in itself, but the possibility of it taking place hinges on whether the West “abandons its malignant course to undermine Russia’s security and its interests.”
- 09:18 GMT
NATO has shown no interest in settling the Ukraine conflict as it continues to ignore Russia’s security concerns, Lavrov said. Western countries are pushing Kiev to escalate, and its backers in the UK are advising Ukraine to launch powerful strikes against Crimea in Russia, he claimed.
Lavrov also warned Ukraine that by leaning on its “master” – who, he said, only pursues its own interests – Kiev cannot expect the interests of its people to be taken into account. He cited the example of Western interventions in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, which he said had not brought any benefits to those countries.
- 08:57 GMT
Sustainable peace in the Middle East is unattainable without the creation of the state of Palestine, Lavrov said. “Without the creation of the state of Palestine, Palestinians will continue to feel discriminated and live in injustice,” he explained, adding that he hopes Israeli leaders will eventually come to the same conclusion.
Lavrov also said that Russia wants Israel to have a secure future, noting that the country is a long-time partner. “We are ready to play an active role in the full-scale conflict settlement that would guarantee Israel’s security within the framework of the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on the Palestinian issue.”
- 08:48 GMT
Nobody gave the right to the US and its allies to conduct strikes on the Houthi militia in Yemen, Lavrov said, recalling that the unilateral action resembles the Western bombing campaign against Libya in 2011 that brought the country to complete ruin.
- 08:46 GMT
Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky is increasingly “getting out of hand” and by pressuring him to hold a presidential election, the West intends to align him more closely with its interests, Lavrov suggested.
Kiev’s reluctance to hold the vote proves that the Ukrainian president and his supporters are simply clinging to power, he added. This sentiment is not welcome in the West because it wants “more flexibility,” according to Lavrov.
“They seem to have understood that the much-touted blitzkrieg to eventually inflict a strategic defeat on Russia is an illusion,” the minister suggested, adding that this has prompted the West to seek a solution that would allow it to both support Ukraine while making it more “facile.”
- 08:29 GMT
Security issues in Europe and Asia should be tackled without interference from powers outside of those continents, Lavrov said. “We are sure that Eurasian countries are capable of handling this on their own.”