Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lashed out at criticism Friday over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine at talks with dozens of foreign ministers in Jakarta, the European Union’s top diplomat said.
Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year has cemented a deep Cold War-style rupture between Russia and the West, with the United States and major European powers supporting Kyiv with financial and military aid.
“Lavrov responded (to) me very aggressively and explained his point of view, saying everything is a ‘West conspiracy’ and the war will continue… as Russia is not at all ready to stop the aggression and withdraw troops,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters after ASEAN Regional Forum talks.
Borrell said he explained to Lavrov why the 27-member European Union was supporting Ukraine and asked Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine “as the only way of stopping the war.”
The trading of barbs came at a security meeting in the Indonesian capital that also included the United States, China and Japan.
Russia’s top diplomat has been dispatched to multilateral forums to present Moscow’s position as it becomes increasingly isolated on the international stage.
The EU granted Ukraine candidate status for membership last year, in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, is set to issue a more full assessment of Ukraine’s progress in October and give its opinion on whether to start membership negotiations.
Kyiv has been pushing to get talks going this year and insists it is making major strides even as it battles Moscow’s forces.