Russia may pull back on its diplomatic efforts in the West, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told new ministry recruits on Tuesday, citing the increasingly open hostility faced by Russian diplomats and the need to focus on building and expanding relationships in the rest of the world.
“People work in conditions that can hardly be called human,” Lavrov said, referring to “constant problems, constant threats.” He added there was “no point” to maintain the same level of diplomatic presence.
“Countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, on the contrary, need additional attention,” Lavrov continued, promising that those countries “ready to work on equal terms” would be rewarded with “promising joint projects.”
The US and many European nations have made life difficult, even dangerous for Russian diplomats. Diplomatic properties in New York and Sofia were recently vandalized, the latter by a local politician. Latvian police announced in August that they would no longer protect Russian consulates after the country stopped issuing visas to Russian nationals. When Russia’s embassy in Canada was hit with a Molotov cocktail last month, police allegedly slow-walked the investigation, even allowing “aggressive” protesters to block access to the building afterwards. A man rammed a truck through the gates of the Russian embassy in Dublin in March.