By Burc Eruygur
ISTANBUL (AA) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday said that the UK’s supply of depleted uranium ammunition to Ukraine is “a step toward further escalation.”
"This is a step towards a further qualitative, serious increase in escalation," Lavrov said during a press conference in the port city of Sochi, following a meeting with his Eritrean counterpart Osman Saleh Mohammed.
Lavrov said that the use of depleted uranium ammunition in previous conflicts, such as the war in Yugoslavia and Iraq, led to a sharp increase in cancer cases and soil contamination, which in the case of Ukraine would sharply reduce the quality of local produce.
Lavrov further said that a number of countries, including leading Western states, are preventing the development of an international convention banning the use of such forms of ammunition, saying that the UN General Assembly should regularly consider resolutions on the matter.
Russia’s Embassy in the UK described London’s decision as “a step fraught with risks of further escalation of the conflict,” while Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the UK’s intention confirms “the intention of the collective West, led by the US and the UK, to simply destroy Ukraine to the end.”
The UK on Tuesday announced that it would provide Ukraine with armor piercing rounds which contain depleted uranium. The country's Defense Ministry later clarified that depleted uranium is standard component and accused Russia of spreading disinformation.
- ICC warrant for Putin
Lavrov also commented on the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to issue an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin, claiming that the prosecutor of the court only performs tasks set by Western states.
“The International Criminal Court is headed by a prosecutor who is a naturalized Anglo-Saxon, I will say so, and who, of course, as we all could see, fulfills the orders of his masters, who forbid this body from investigating the crimes of NATO member countries and set it to seek out far-fetched pretexts, non-existent facts in order to advance the agenda of the so-called collective West,” Lavrov said.
On Friday, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for the Russian president over alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
While Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal hailed the issuance of the arrest warrant for Putin as an "important step towards justice,” Russia rejected the decision by the ICC, saying Moscow does not recognize its jurisdiction and considers the ICC decisions "null and void."
- Cooperation in military, military-technical spheres discussed
During the joint press conference with his Eritrean counterpart, Lavrov said they discussed cooperation in the military and military-technical spheres, and in the field of security in general.
“This is an important aspect of our interaction, given, in particular, the situation in the Horn of Africa region and the ongoing tensions between the countries located in the region," Lavrov said.
Lavrov further said that Moscow is concerned about the situation surrounding the killing of at least nine Chinese nationals after armed men stormed a Chinese-operated gold mining site in the Central African Republic.
Lavrov added that Moscow was “not really surprised” about protests taking place in Kenya.
“Our Western colleagues constantly demand from African leaders, leaders of other countries to follow their advice. And those who show some kind of minimal independence receive various provocations from the West,” Lavrov said.
He added that economic and social hardship cause protests and riot, but that “in the overwhelming majority of cases, the West seeks to either create such situations or use them to its advantage.”