Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is undertaking another charm offensive (another irony alert), this one directed at Ukraine (you’re surprised, I’m sure):
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday criticized a Ukrainian decision to expel two diplomats, saying Kiev had not presented any evidence that they were acting in violation of their diplomatic status.
Ukraine ordered Vladimir Lysenko, an adviser at the Russian Embassy, and Alexander Grachev, consul general in Odessa, to leave for “undiplomatic activity,” RIA-Novosti reported.
Yuriy Kostenko, Kiev’s acting foreign minister, said Thursday that his ministry was analyzing Russia’s decision Wednesday to oust two Ukrainian officials but that he was standing by the decision to expel Lysenko and Grachev.
He said the diplomats were “interfering in the country’s internal affairs.”
“The Ukrainian authorities didn’t give us a single example of spying,” Lavrov said, the news agency reported.
The Russian officials were told to leave after weapons movements by the country’s Black Sea Fleet that Ukraine said were not permitted.
I don’t have anything to say about this specific dispute, but reading the article brought to mind a story told to me by one of the attendees at my Foreign Service/Civil Service talk. He said that one of his colleagues, who works in intelligence (and has a Russian name, interestingly), told him that “Lavrov is a fascinating person. Fascinating in the same way that a tarantula behind glass is fascinating.”
I think PETA should investigate this defamation of tarantulas. After all, they are harmless to humans.
In all seriousness, though, whenever I read Lavrov’s name again, the image of a tarantula will immediately come to mind.
I think you’ve won a new nickname, Sergei!