Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov used a bizarre example of Ireland's relationship with the United Kingdom to justify Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at a media briefing in Moscow on Friday, Lavrov claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had previously told Russian speakers living in Ukraine to "go away" from the country, giving Russia cause to invade.
Lavrov then pondered how the UK would react if Ireland decided to ban all English-speaking people from the country.
"For example if in Ireland, if they prohibited English the language, what would the UK think about it? Or if in Belgium they would have forbidden the French language. I can’t imagine that a law like that would last for more than a couple of days or even hours," Lavrov said on Friday.
Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney condemned Lavrov's comments in a post on Twitter, stating that Ireland and the UK were an example of how two nations with a difficult past could build sustained peace.
"Don’t bring Ireland into an argument trying to justify an unjustifiable war. Ireland/U.K. are an example of how 2 countries, with a difficult past, found a way to shape and sustain a peace process, guaranteeing an absence of violence," Coveney said on Twitter.
Don’t bring Ireland into an argument trying to justify and unjustifiable war.— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) February 25, 2022
Ireland/U.K. are an example of how 2 countries, with a difficult past, found a way to shape and sustain a peace process, guaranteeing an absence of violence. @dfatirl https://t.co/dQlSfckRPs
At least 137 people have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday morning, while Russia has bombed at least 33 civilian sites over the last two days.