Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Josh Rogin

Europeans Laugh as Lavrov Talks Ukraine

The crowd in Germany laughed at and then booed the Russian, but he didn’t seem to care.
Standing up for the UN Charter.

Standing up for the UN Charter.

Photographer: Dominik Bindl - Pool/Getty Images

In the span of 45 minutes today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rewrote the history of the Cold War, accused the West of fomenting a coup in Ukraine and declared himself a champion of the United Nations Charter. The crowd here in Germany laughed at and then booed him, but he didn’t seem to care.

When Lavrov took the stage Saturday morning at the Munich Security Conference, he knew it was going to be a tough crowd. He was speaking just after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and ahead of U.S.  Vice President Joseph Biden. For two days, almost all of the panelists at the conference had railed against Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The debates were not over whether Russia was a bad actor spoiling international security, but rather how to deal with that consensus view.