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Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has warned a third World War would be ‘nuclear and destructive’ as conflict continues between Russia and Ukraine.
Lavrov made his comments during a video speech to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, March 1, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered its sixth day.
Russian president Vladimir Putin increased the risk of nuclear war by putting Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces on high alert last week, but Lavrov told the Disarmament Conference that every measure is being taken to ensure Ukraine does not secure nuclear arsenal.
Powerful scenes at UN Human Rights Council this morning as delegations, including 🇬🇧 UK, marched out as Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, delivers his address.— Rita French 🇬🇧 (@RitaFrenchFCDO) March 1, 2022
We #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇳🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/Rb50Tw5CRM
If Kyiv did acquire nuclear weapons, Lavrov said Russia would face a 'real danger'. He also condemned the European Union for participating in what he described as 'Russophobic frenzy' by supplying Ukraine with weapons to help defend themselves against the invasion.
As Lavrov's speech began to play out to the Human Rights Council, dozens of officials walked out of the room in protest of the war, including representatives from Britain, the US and the European Union. Outside the UN, diplomats stood holding a Ukrainian flag to show their support for the country.
Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Yevheniia Filipenko, addressed those gathered outside the UN, saying: 'They cannot attack our freedom. We will fight until the end and we will win.'
'We feel your support, we greatly appreciate all of your support and the steps we have taken today in international Geneva send a very strong signal to the Russian Federation that such actions are not acceptable and not tolerated in the 21st century,' Filipenko continued.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said officials took part in the walkout because Lavrov was giving a 'false' version of events, so they wanted to 'show a very strong stance together'.
Prior to the start of the invasion on February 24, Putin warned that any countries who tried to 'hinder' his plans would face 'consequences you have never seen in your history'. According to the Stockholm Peace Institute, per The Independent, Russia currently has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world with an estimated 6,255 nukes.
Aside from Russia, eight other countries currently have nuclear weapons, including China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, the US and the UK.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information
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