Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov wears a face mask with anti-quarantine message on it during China tour – as his staff say both the mask and the slogan ‘suit him just right’
- Sergei Lavrov is on a two-day visit to China to meet with his counterpart Wang Yi
- He was gifted the mask by journalists in honour of his 71st birthday on Sunday
- Russia’s foreign ministry said ‘the mask and slogan suited the minister just right’
Sergei Lavrov donned a black covering with white writing which read ‘FCKNG QRNTN’ in English.
Russia’s foreign ministry said journalists had given the country’s top diplomat the mask in honour of his 71st birthday on Sunday.
Russia’s Foreign Minister made a bold statement with a profanity-laden face mask during a visit to China on Monday
They said the mask appropriately reflected Lavrov’s opinions on Covid quarantines enforced around the world.
The ministry said on social media: ‘Both the mask and the slogan suited the minister just right.’
A video of the Minister wearing the controversial mask was shared on TikTok as Lavrov posed by the Lijiang River in southeastern China.
He later wore a different mask that bore no slogan when he met China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
The two men discussed their two countries’ troubled relations with the United States, Russia’s daily Kommersant newspaper reported.
A video of the Minister wearing the controversial mask was shared on TikTok as Lavrov posed by the Lijiang River in southeastern China
Although Moscow residents still need to wear masks and gloves on public transport, the authorities have resisted imposing a strict lockdown as they did during the first wave of the coronavirus last year, relying on targeted measures instead.
Vladimir Putin has maintained he has ‘stabilised’ the pandemic despite 9,215 new daily cases recorded on Monday and 367 deaths.
Lavrov, on a two-day visit to China, is holding talks with his Chinese counterpart at a time when both countries’ ties with the administration of US President Joe Biden are badly strained.
US and Chinese officials on Friday concluded what Washington called ‘tough and direct’ talks in Alaska, while Russia’s ambassador arrived back in Moscow on Sunday for consultations after Biden said he believed President Vladimir Putin was a killer.
Russia is also braced for a new round of sanctions over what Washington says was its meddling in the 2020 US presidential election, which Moscow denies.
He later wore a different mask that bore no slogan when he met China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi (pictured)
Speaking to Chinese media before the start of his visit, Lavrov said Moscow and Beijing were compelled to develop independently of Washington in order to thwart what he said were US attempts to curb their technological development.
‘We need to reduce sanctions risks by bolstering our technological independence, by switching to payments in our national currencies and global currencies that serve as an alternative to the dollar,’ Lavrov said, according to a transcript of his interview released on Monday.
‘We need to move away from using international payment systems controlled by the West.’
Ahead of his visit, a Chinese state newspaper, The Global Times, suggested Lavrov’s trip was a sign of how close China-Russia coordination would offset the impact of what it called ‘US troublemaking.’
‘The timing of Lavrov’s visit is noteworthy as it means Russia is the first country China shares information and opinions with on key issues after the China-US face-to-face communication,’ it said.