UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday accused Western powers of trying to dominate and impose their ideology on the rest of world, while the United States and European delegations slammed Moscow for supporting rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Lavrov was speaking at a special meeting of the U.N. Security Council organized by China, which holds the rotating presidency of the 15-nation body this month, on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.
Without accusing specific countries, Lavrov complained about what he said was rampant violation of key principles of the U.N. Charter, specifically the “independence and sovereign equality of states, the non-interference in their internal affairs.” He cited Western interventions in Syria, Libya and Iraq.
“All of this is a result of attempts to dominate global affairs, to rule over all, everywhere,” Lavrov said.
“For those not wishing to play ball, there are various methods, including regime change, including the open support for the unconstitutional state coup in Ukraine a year ago,” he said.
Russia’s top diplomat also complained about unilateral sanctions not approved by the Security Council, such as those imposed on Moscow by the United States and Europe over its actions in Ukraine. Russia denies Western allegations that it is supporting and directing Ukraine’s pro-Russian rebels.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also highlighted the importance of “non-interference in internal affairs and respect for territorial integrity.”
He complained about moves by some countries that “attempt to overturn and whitewash past crimes of aggression,” ostensibly a swipe at Japan, whose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to recast his country’s World War Two history in a less apologetic tone.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Antanas Linkevicius responded sharply to Lavrov’s complaints.
“From eastern Ukraine to Moldova’s Transnistria, to Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions, a pattern exists of Russia’s interference in the sovereign affairs of neighboring states,” he said. “For a year now, Ukraine has been under attack by Russian commandos and mercenaries.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power suggested Moscow’s call for greater respect for nations’ sovereignty and territorial integrity was hypocritical.
“Russia today is training, arming, supporting and fighting alongside separatists who have brutally seized Ukrainian territory, a blatant violation of the U.N. Charter and an assault on its neighbor’s sovereignty,” she said.
Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by James Dalgleish