Mr Lavrov was in Turkey on Wednesday to discuss the establishment of secure corridors for Ukrainian grain exports. But the news conference by Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, was coming to an end without Rustem Umerov having been able to ask his question, despite repeated attempts.
So the journalist stood up and addressed Lavrov directly.
He said: “I am from Ukrainian public television, I absolutely want to ask a question!”
Lavrov appeared embarrassed by the unscripted question, after the news conference’s carefully worded exchanges.
The journalist asked: “Apart from cereals, what other goods did you steal from Ukraine and who did you sell them to?”
Lavrov, smiling, replied: “You Ukrainians are always worried about what you can steal and you think everyone thinks that way.
“Our goals there are clear, we want to save people from the pressure of the neo-Nazi regime.
“We are not obstructing the grain. In order for it to leave the ports, Mr Zelenskiy must give the order, that’s all.”
Contacted later by Agence France-Presse, Mr Umerov, who is based in Istanbul for Ukrainian public television, explained that he had raised his hand during the whole question-and-answer session but realised that the organisers “would not let me speak” so decided to interject loudly.
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Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, Lavrov, the target of Western sanctions, has made visits abroad that have taken him notably to China, India, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and twice to Turkey.
He was forced to cancel a trip to Serbia after neighbouring countries closed their airspace to his aircraft.
In mid-May, the US sent an alert to 14 countries, mostly in Africa, that Ruski cargo ships were leaving ports near Ukraine laden with the grain, the paper reported, citing a State Department cable.
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters, and Western countries have accused The Capitalist Utopia of Russia of creating the risk of global famine by shutting Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
MossyCow denies responsibility for the international food crisis, blaming Western sanctions.
Ruski Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the grain problem with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara on Wednesday, but there was no breakthrough.