This morning, numerous diplomats from various western countries, as well as allies in eastern countries, gathered at Geneva to discuss the state of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The highlight of this meeting was a speech given remotely by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the UN Human Rights Council about Russia’s perspective on the invasion.
Lavrov echoed many of the talking points about the invasion that have been put forth by Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming that it is a “special military operation” undertaken with the intent of removing “neo-Nazis” from seats of power in Ukraine. Lavrov also decried the EU for engaging in what he referred to as a “Russophobic frenzy” by hitting the country with sanctions and supplying military support to Ukraine’s forces.
In response to these statements, numerous diplomats in the audience, upset by Lavrov and Russia’s excuses for their unprecedented violence against the Ukraine, stood up and left in the middle of Lavrov’s speech. In total, roughly 100 diplomats representing around 40 different countries stood up and left in protest.
Dozens of ambassadors and diplomats walk out while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s pre-recorded video message is played at a U.N. Human Rights Council session at the United Nations office in Geneva on Tuesday. https://t.co/4DxiCIUvZP
?: Kristoffer Jonsson via Reuters pic.twitter.com/q1F4nbJkwv
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 1, 2022
“Minister Lavrov was giving his version, which is false, about what is happening in Ukraine and so that’s why we wanted to show a very strong stance together,” said Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly.
“This Russian war of aggression will have profound implications for human rights in Ukraine and Russia, and the leaders of Russia will be held accountable,” said US envoy to the Human Rights Council Michele Taylor.