Lavrov, a close ally and confidant of Russian president Vladimir Putin, triggered laughter from a live audience at India's G20 Summit in New Delhi when making the claim after an audience member pressed him on how Russia's energy strategy had changed as a result of war.
"You know, the war, which we are trying to stop, which was launched against us, using the..." Lavrov responded before being interrupted by groans and laughter from the audience. One man could be heard shouting "come on" and while pausing briefly, Lavrov appeared unfazed and continued on.
Konstantin Sonin, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, described the claim as "hilarious" and "embarrassing".
"Russian "diplomats" think that the lies they use to feed Putin's fantasies [to get promoted] could be taken as anything but lies by anyone else," he said on Twitter.
Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya described Lavrov as an "ignominious jerk" following the claim.
This is hilarious. And embarrassing. Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Lavrov says "the war we are trying to stop was launched against us" and the Indian audience - supposedly sympathetic - audibly laughs. Russian "diplomats" think that the lies they use to feed Putin's fantasies… https://t.co/TyUV8WvYQb pic.twitter.com/ue5I61ZvuO
— Konstantin Sonin (@k_sonin) March 3, 2023
A year has passed since Russia launched its first missiles into Ukraine, triggering Europe's largest military conflict since World War II.
Putin has been widely condemned across the globe for the invasion of Ukraine, with a raft of countries imposing sanctions on Russia in response, while providing Ukraine with aid and military resources.
Moscow, which says it has annexed nearly a fifth of Ukraine, accuses pro-Western Kyiv of posing a security threat. It also expressed concerns over NATO's expansion which Putin reportedly believes is provocative. Ukraine and its allies say the invasion was an unprovoked war of conquest, with experts accusing Putin of a deluded attempt to restore Russia as an imperial power.
Lavrov, pointing to US military interventions around the globe, accused the US of hypocrisy on Friday after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Moscow cannot be allowed to wage war in Ukraine with impunity.
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