Russia's top diplomat dons anti-lockdown mask bearing profane slogan
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Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi wearing protective face masks pose for a picture during a meeting in Guilin, China March 22, 2021. Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov donned an anti-lockdown mask during a visit to China on Monday which bore a profanity-laden slogan that his ministry said suited him "just right".
The English-language slogan on the black mask had all the vowels removed and read "FCKNG QRNTN" to express the wearer's attitude to COVID-19 quarantines.
Russia's foreign ministry said journalists had given Lavrov the mask in honour of his 71st birthday on Sunday.
"Both the mask and the slogan suited the minister just right," Russia's foreign ministry said in social media posts, in an apparent suggestion that Lavrov is frustrated with lockdown restrictions.
However, Lavrov wore a different mask that bore no slogan when he met China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday. The two men discussed their two countries' troubled relations with the United States, Russia's daily Kommersant newspaper reported.
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.
(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Gareth Jones)
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