UNITED NATIONS -- As if there wasn't enough tension.
After days of speeches by world leaders taking subtle and not-so-subtle shots at Russia for its invasion of Ukraine during the annual U.N. General Assembly, in walked Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to address the Security Council on Thursday.
He arrived just minutes before he had to speak, missing U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's earlier remarks blasting Moscow for what the American described as war crimes and other atrocities.
And then it was Lavrov's turn to sound off, and he did for several minutes, repeating his country’s frequent claims that Kyiv has long oppressed Russian speakers and that Western support for Ukraine is a menace to Moscow. All the while, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba looked on.
In that short moment, the world watched something rare: The top diplomats of two nations at war in the same room.
They did not speak with each other, instead lobbing barbs at — or past — each other. Kuleba even quipped before the meeting that he would maintain “social distance.”
Lavrov said U.S. policy toward Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy’s government was based on the rationale that “he’s a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” Kuleba chided Russia afterward for the “inappropriate slang.”
And then, the moment was over just as quickly as it began. As soon as Lavrov finished speaking, he was gone in a flash.
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