Russia Seeks Asian Support 07/05 06:51
BEIJING (AP) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey 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 punishing sanctions leveled over its
invasion of Ukraine.
Lavrov met with Mongolian Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh and paid a
courtesy call on President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, Mongolian state media
Mongolia is a landlocked nation sandwiched between Russia and China, and has
sought to maintain friendly relations with both neighbors while also
cultivating close ties with the U.S., whose relations with Moscow and Beijing
have become increasingly fraught.
Mongolian and Russian state media gave no details of any specific
discussions about the Ukraine 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
"Reaffirming his commitment to strengthening bilateral relations, (Lavrov)
expressed readiness to cooperate with Mongolia in all aspects," Mongolia's
official Montsame news agency said of Lavrov's meeting with Khurelsukh.
Ukraine and Russia's rejection of Western criticism were major themes of
Lavrov's public comments.
He was quoted by the Russian state news agency Tass as saying that the West
is seeking to turn Ukraine "into an openly Russophobic, neo-Nazi state, a
military foothold" that would threaten Russia's security.
He said he had informed the Mongolians "in detail" about what the Kremlin
calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.
"We are interested in making the facts about how the representatives of the
Kyiv regime behaved and continue to behave in Ukraine available to the broad
world community," Lavrov said.
"Unfortunately the West is doing everything to block the work of the media,
which provide objective information about what is happening," he said, without
offering any evidence.
Russia's government has blocked access to multiple independent domestic and
foreign news outlets in the country over their coverage of the war in Ukraine
and has forbidden its citizens from describing its aggression as an invasion.
Russia has falsely called the war a campaign to "de-Nazify" Ukraine --- a
country with a democratically elected Jewish president who wants closer ties
with the West.
Lavrov was to travel to Vietnam later Tuesday for a two-day visit, according
to the Vietnamese government's official website.
He is to meet on Wednesday with Vietnamese leaders 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
backer of Hanoi's Communist government during the Vietnam War against the
capitalist south and its American and other Western allies.
Later in the week, Lavrov is scheduled to attend a meeting in Indonesia of
foreign ministers from the Group of 20 leading rich and developing countries.