Lavrov responds to bombing of Mariupol maternity hospital
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Now in its fourth week, the war in Ukraine continued at the weekend as Russian troops shelled a shopping centre in the capital Kyiv. The attack in the Podilskyi district, which also struck houses, killed eight people according to Ukrainian officials. The city’s mayor announced a curfew, in effect from 8pm local time on Monday to 7am on Wednesday. Meanwhile, some 300,000 people continue to remain trapped in the besieged port city of Mariupol in Ukraine’s south.
An estimated 90 percent of the buildings there have been destroyed and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of war crimes in the area.
Despite Russia’s continued bombardment of Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke of his “hope” last week that a peace deal could be reached between the two nations.
Under the proposed agreement, Ukraine would have to scrap its bid to join the NATO military bloc in return for a Russian withdrawal.
Amid the negotiations, Lavrov was attacked last week by the man who once promoted him – Andrei Kozyrev.
The former Russian Foreign Minister, who served under Boris Yeltsin and once installed Lavrov as his deputy, turned on his former “friend” in a blistering attack.
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The ex-politician was asked for his reaction to the war in Ukraine on ‘The Economist Asks’ podcast.
Talking about Lavrov, he said: “He was and still is a very good diplomat. And he was my friend, and he shared my views.
“Otherwise, I would not promote him to be my deputy. We worked together for years.
“But it is very painful to see that by now, he went so much down. He is a nobody.
“He is just performing a dance for an orchestra or a choreographer who is there in the Kremlin.
“It is a disgrace. It is very painful for me because he was my friend.”
Host Anne McElvoy then asked the ex-politician what he thought it was that motivated his former “friend” to help keep Putin’s regime afloat.
Mr Kozyrev replied: “I don’t know. Probably he thinks he is a prominent figure.
“By the way, I think it is a mistake that Western diplomacy and Western countries boost that feeling of importance.
“This parade of Western leaders, telephone calls, that is what he wants.
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“That is exactly one of the reasons he uses brutal force – to be king of the world.”
The former Foreign Minister claimed that any western diplomacy with Russia – such as that shown by French President Emmanuel Macron – would not mean anything if it was not accompanied by concrete action.
He said: “I was a diplomat for many years during the Cold War and then when I was Foreign Minister, and I know one thing about diplomacy.
“Diplomacy becomes empty words if it is not backed by results – it could be economic results, military results, it could be goodwill results.”
He added: “If it is not backed by those forces, then words become empty and this talk with Putin…
“Stop lecturing him about his interests. They lecture him about the interests of Russia, but he has not been representing the interests of Russia for a long time already.
“He is representing the interests of his regime. Of him to stay in power.”
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