Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Russia’s foreign minister becomes the country’s ‘Minister No’

As Russia’s top diplomat during the invasion of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is embodying the Kremlin’s defiant posture with a mixture of toughness and sarcasm. While President Vladimir Putin single-handedly shapes the country’s foreign policy, Lavrov delivers Moscow’s message with a bluntness uncharacteristic of a diplomat. (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/sergey-lavrov-russias-foreign-minister-becomes-the-countrys-minister-no-01646223273) In the role for nearly 18 years, the 71-year-old Lavrov has seen relations with the West shift from near-friendly to openly hostile, plummeting to a catastrophic new low with Russia’s war against Ukraine. The invasion prompted the European Union to freeze the assets of both Putin and Lavrov, among others — an unprecedented blow to Moscow’s pride. Lavrov’s tenure as foreign minister is second only to that of Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, who was in office for 28 years. Like Gromyko, who was nicknamed Mr. Nyet (Mr. No), Lavrov has come to represent the uncompromising face of Kremlin foreign policy vis a vis the West. He doesn’t mince words when defending what he sees as Moscow’s interests, and that style must appeal to the tough-talking Russian president.

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