Diplomats walk out of UN sessions in Geneva as Russian foreign minister speaks

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Diplomats walked out of the UN Human Rights Council session when Russia’s foreign minister began his address after they took the same action earlier at the Conference on Disarmament session.

Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Yevheniia Filipenko led the first walkout from the meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, the UN body used to stem the international arms race, when Sergey Lavrov began speaking by video from Moscow.

Russia said the day before Lavrov would not attend the high-level meetings of the UN Human Rights Council and the Council on Disarmament in Geneva due to EU sanctions that ban Russian aircraft from European airspace.

After delegates walked out of the Council on Disarmament meeting, the Ukrainian envoy stood behind her national flag and spoke to a crowd that gathered.

“Thank you very much for this wonderful show of support to Ukrainians who are fighting for their independence,” said Filipenko.

Lavrov made a speech in which he said that international security was endangered after Ukrainian authorities had “embarked on dangerous games related to plans to acquire their own nuclear weapons.”

He added: “The irresponsible statements made on the subject are not just bravado. Ukraine still has Soviet nuclear technologies.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said at the same meeting: “Russian indiscriminate attacks on civilian and critical infrastructure are war crimes and violations of the Rome Statute,” the treaty which established the International Criminal Court.

“Russian aggression is a global threat,” said Kuleba.

About an hour later, the EU, US, and Britain led a walkout when Lavrov began his video address to the Human Rights Council.

The room where the council is sitting allows less than 200 people to be present under UN COVID-19 regulations.

Few delegations remained after the Human Rights Council walkout except those from countries such as China, Syria, Tunisia, Venezuela, and Yemen.

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