Russia's former top diplomat says Putin's foreign minister 'used to have my back,' but now 'I would watch my back if he was behind me'
- Former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev spoke out against current Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday.
- He spoke out after the US and European Union announced they would sanction Lavrov.
Russia's former top diplomat spoke out against current Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday after the US and European Union announced they would sanction Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine early Thursday, with Russian troops swarming into the country from its northern, eastern, and southern borders. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Thursday-evening address that 137 Ukrainians had died and 306 had been wounded as a result of the invasion.
The White House on Friday announced it would sanction Putin and Lavrov, who has been foregin minister since 2004, after the EU earlier approved freezing assets belonging to the two.
"Lavrov, rightfully sanctioned by the US and EU today, was my deputy in the 90s. Used to have my back," former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev wrote on Twitter. "Today, I would watch my back if he was behind me."
—Andrei V Kozyrev (@andreivkozyrev) February 25, 2022
Kozyrev was Russia's first minister of foreign affairs under Boris Yeltsin during the early-to-mid 1990s after the Soviet Union collapsed.
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said Putin was the third world leader to be sanctioned by the body, preceded by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
"This is the final outcome of the discussion that was not finished yesterday at the European Council and has been decided today by the ambassadors and the Ministers," Borrell said during a press conference Friday, citing a report by CNN. "So President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov are in the list of sanctioned people together with the remaining members the Duma who are supporting this aggression."
On Friday, Russia refused to participate in talks with Zelensky, and Lavrov said the country was run by "neo-Nazis" and the West.
"We do not see the possibility of recognizing as democratic a government that persecutes and uses methods of genocide against its own people," Lavrov said during a news conference in Moscow, per The New York Times.
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