| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Lavrov, back from Africa, says West has failed to ‘isolate’ Russia

The West’s attempts to “isolate” Russia, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have entirely failed, and Moscow is forging closer ties with nations in the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, and other regions.

After returning from a nearly week-long trip to Africa, Lavrov told Russian diplomats at an event at his ministry that “today we can affirm that the West’s intentions to isolate Russia by surrounding us with a sanitary cordon have been a farce.”

“Despite the anti-Russian orgy orchestrated by Washington, London and Brussels, we are strengthening good unneighborly relations in the widest sense of this concept with the international majority,” he said.

The veteran foreign minister’s latest trip took him to Mali, Mauritania and Sudan as well as Iraq. He also recently visited South Africa, Eswatini, Angola and Eritrea.

Russia’s relations with Western nations, already souring for many years, hit new post-Cold War lows after it invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago in what it called a “special military operation” it said was necessary to bolster its own security.

Kyiv’s Western allies cast that move as an imperial-style land grab and slapped sweeping economic sanctions on Russia, prompting it to seek closer ties with China, India, Arab and African nations and others that have refrained from joining the sanctions while calling for peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv.

Moscow says NATO has effectively become a combatant in Ukraine by agreeing to provide large amounts of military aid including battle tanks to Kyiv, and it accuses the United States of also threatening global stability elsewhere around the world.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, said on Friday that Russia will closely monitor any American decision to station hypersonic weapons in Japan, adding that this would “represent for us a qualitative change in the regional security situation.”

She seemed to be responding to a report in Japan’s Sankei newspaper that said that, in light of rising tensions with China, Washington would send Tomahawk missiles and long-range hypersonic weapons to Japan.

  • Reuters