Russian Foreign Minister visits Mongolia in search of support | Government and politics
BEIJING (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with leaders in Mongolia on Tuesday during a trip to Asia to seek support amid his country’s diplomatic isolation by the West and sanctions. penalties imposed for its invasion of Ukraine.
Lavrov met with Mongolian Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh and paid a courtesy visit to President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, Mongolian state media reported.
Mongolia is a landlocked country sandwiched between Russia and China, and has sought to maintain friendly relations with the two neighbors while cultivating close ties with the United States, whose relations with Moscow and Beijing have become more and more tense.
Mongolian and Russian state media gave no details of specific discussions on the Ukrainian conflict, while emphasizing strong bilateral relations. The two sides have signed a series of trade agreements and a pipeline carrying Russian natural gas to China is being built through Mongolian territory.
“Reaffirming his commitment to strengthening bilateral relations, (Lavrov) said he is ready to cooperate with Mongolia in all aspects,” Mongolia’s official Montsame news agency said of Lavrov’s meeting with Khurelsukh.
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Ukraine’s and Russia’s rejection of Western criticism were the main themes of Lavrov’s public comments.
He was quoted by Russian state news agency Tass as saying the West is seeking to turn Ukraine “into an openly Russophobic and neo-Nazi state, a military foothold” that would threaten Russia’s security.
He said he briefed the Mongols “in detail” on what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
“We are interested in making the facts about how representatives of the Kyiv regime behaved and continue to behave in Ukraine available to the wider global community,” Lavrov said.
“Unfortunately, the West is doing everything to block the work of the media, which provide objective information on what is happening,” he said, without providing any evidence.
The Russian government blocked access to several independent domestic and foreign media outlets in the country over their coverage of the war in Ukraine and banned its citizens from portraying its aggression as an invasion.
Russia has falsely characterized the war as a campaign to “denazify” Ukraine – a country with a democratically elected Jewish president who wants closer ties with the West.
Lavrov was due to travel to Vietnam later on Tuesday for a two-day visit, according to the Vietnamese government’s official website.
He is due to meet with Vietnamese leaders on Wednesday, including Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.
The visit comes as the two countries mark 10 years since they expanded their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Russia was a close supporter of the Communist government in Hanoi during the Vietnam War against the capitalist South and its American and Western allies.
Later in the week, Lavrov is due to attend a meeting in Indonesia of foreign ministers from the Group of 20 leading rich and developing countries.
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