Meddling claims baseless, Russia tells UN

In a fiery UN speech, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has slammed meddling accusations and warned Washington-Moscow relations are at an "all-time low".

Russia's foreign minister has trashed accusations of Moscow meddling abroad as "baseless" and used the podium at the UN's biggest event to tear into US policies in Iran, Syria and Venezuela.

Sergey Lavrov later declared that US-Russian relations "are bad and probably at their all-time low".

In a rapid-fire speech on Friday, Lavrov pounded away at "self-serving" unilateral moves by US President Donald Trump and assailed crippling western sanctions against Russia as "political blackmail".

Lavrov deflected accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, a nerve agent attack in Britain and other meddling abroad despite mounting evidence of a broad, co-ordinated influence campaign.

He criticised "baseless accusations of interference in the internal affairs of certain countries" and turned it around against the west, accusing unnamed forces of "overt endeavors to undermine democratically elected governments", in an apparent reference to US and EU support for Russia's neighbors and the Syrian opposition.

He expanded on that at a news conference later, giving examples of US interference that included the US envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volcker, promoting efforts to replace the 2015 agreement reached by leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany to end the violence in eastern Ukraine.

He also cited the case of Maria Butina, who has pleaded not guilty to US charges that she tried to infiltrate US political organisations as a covert Russian agent. Russia has called her jailing "preposterous".

In his UN address, Lavrov was particularly angry over US and EU sanctions over Russia's actions abroad, saying, "We see the desire of several western nations to preserve their self-proclaimed status as world leaders ... and do not hesitate to use any methods including political blackmail, economic pressure and brute force."

He defended the 2015 deal aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program and said "we will do everything possible" to preserve it.

Lavrov called Trump's decision to pull out of the deal part of a dangerous trend of unilateral measures that risk damaging the post-World War II world order.

Published 30 September 2018 at 6:52am
Source: AAP