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Russia Seeks Asian Support    07/05 06:51


   BEIJING (AP) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with leaders in 
Mongolia on Tuesday during a trip to Asia to seek support amid his country's 
diplomatic isolation by the West and punishing sanctions leveled over its 
invasion of Ukraine.

   Lavrov met with Mongolian Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh and paid a 
courtesy call on President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, Mongolian state media 

   Mongolia is a landlocked nation sandwiched between Russia and China, and has 
sought to maintain friendly relations with both neighbors while also 
cultivating close ties with the U.S., whose relations with Moscow and Beijing 
have become increasingly fraught.

   Mongolian and Russian state media gave no details of any specific 
discussions about the Ukraine conflict, while emphasizing strong bilateral 
relations. The two sides have signed a series of trade agreements, and a 
pipeline carrying Russian natural gas to China is being built through Mongolian 

   "Reaffirming his commitment to strengthening bilateral relations, (Lavrov) 
expressed readiness to cooperate with Mongolia in all aspects," Mongolia's 
official Montsame news agency said of Lavrov's meeting with Khurelsukh.

   Ukraine and Russia's rejection of Western criticism were major themes of 
Lavrov's public comments.

   He was quoted by the Russian state news agency Tass as saying that the West 
is seeking to turn Ukraine "into an openly Russophobic, neo-Nazi state, a 
military foothold" that would threaten Russia's security.

   He said he had informed the Mongolians "in detail" about what the Kremlin 
calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

   "We are interested in making the facts about how the representatives of the 
Kyiv regime behaved and continue to behave in Ukraine available to the broad 
world community," Lavrov said.

   "Unfortunately the West is doing everything to block the work of the media, 
which provide objective information about what is happening," he said, without 
offering any evidence.

   Russia's government has blocked access to multiple independent domestic and 
foreign news outlets in the country over their coverage of the war in Ukraine 
and has forbidden its citizens from describing its aggression as an invasion.

   Russia has falsely called the war a campaign to "de-Nazify" Ukraine --- a 
country with a democratically elected Jewish president who wants closer ties 
with the West.

   Lavrov was to travel to Vietnam later Tuesday for a two-day visit, according 
to the Vietnamese government's official website.

   He is to meet on Wednesday with Vietnamese leaders including Foreign 
Minister Bui Thanh Son, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Communist Party 
General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

   The visit comes as the two countries mark 10 years since they expanded their 
relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Russia was a close 
backer of Hanoi's Communist government during the Vietnam War against the 
capitalist south and its American and other Western allies.

   Later in the week, Lavrov is scheduled to attend a meeting in Indonesia of 
foreign ministers from the Group of 20 leading rich and developing countries.

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