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Russia’s Lavrov cancels trip to UN in Geneva: official

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russia’s foreign minister has cancelled a trip to the United Nations in Geneva due to the “anti-Russian sanctions” imposed by EU countries, Russia’s mission in Geneva said Monday. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had been scheduled to address the UN Human Rights Council and the Conference on Disarmament in person Tuesday, and had also been due to give a press conference. But he has been forced to cancel his trip “due to an unprecedented ban on his flight in the airspace of a number of EU countries that have imposed anti-Russian sanctions,” the mission tweeted.

The announcement came as Moscow was lambasted on the opening day of the rights council’s main annual session, with presidents, ministers and other dignitaries from around the world voicing alarm at its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Countries rallied around a call from Kyiv for the council to host an urgent debate later this week about the conflict and evaluate whether to launch a high-level investigation into all alleged violations committed. 

Russia, which has become an international pariah as its forces do battle on the streets of Ukraine’s cities, rejected the call for a debate and demanded the issue be put to a vote. But a full 29 of the council’s 47 members backed Kyiv’s request, while only five voted no, including Russia itself and China. Thirteen countries abstained.