An impassioned speech from Ukraine saw Russian delegates walk out of a major international security summit today, Prime Minister John Key has revealed.
The Nuclear Security Summit got underway in The Hague, in the Netherlands, today with the Crimean crisis the "topic du jour" among world leaders.
The meeting, attended by 58 world leaders, is supposed to be targeted at stopping terrorists getting access to nuclear material.
But with a G7 emergency talks taking place on the sidelines, the main event has been overshadowed by Russia's annexation of Crimea.
During their allotted speaking time, Ukraine ignored the topic of nuclear security to focus on events on the Black Sea peninsula. Ukrainian Acting Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia is attending the conference.
The speech caused the Russia delegates to walk out - their Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had already left the room, he said.
"The Ukrainian representative essentially gave a speech all about Ukraine," Key said.
"It wasn't so much about the nuclear summit and the Russians walked.
"But you would expect that to happen and for them to use that situation to do that. As soon as the Ukrainian started talking about why he wasn't impressed at all with what was happening they just pulled their guy out ... their whole delegation walked out. They came back later on."
Poland also staged an "intervention" on the crisis, he said.
Key said nuclear security issues were dominating discussions on the floor of the summit.
"But everyone is talking about the Ukraine, and what they think is happening with the Malaysia aircraft as well," he said.
"They have been the two topics du jour."
Just before the G7 meeting, Key held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel where they discussed the economic implications of the Ukraine crisis on Europe.
She appreciated New Zealand's stance, which was to impose travel sanctions and shelve a free trade deal.
"I think the gravity of that situation isn't lost on European leaders," Key said.
"As she pointed out, something like 18 of the 28 countries in Europe take half of all of their gas from Russia. How they handle their economic sanctions ... has very significant implications for these European economies."
Key also had a brief chat with United States President Barack Obama as they met up in the Leader's Lounge.
"It was partly just an opportunity to say hello and catch up on what was going on," he said.
"He was talking about his most recent game of golf and how he'd enjoyed playing with us [in Hawaii at Christmas] ... it was a bit social."
Later Key was due to have a drink and chat with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Catching up with the President before joining 52 other leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands. pic.twitter.com/LUNq0LHSTY
— John Key (@johnkeypm) March 24, 2014
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