Blinken and Lavrov’s Second Conversation Since Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had a brief encounter on the sidelines of the Group of 20 largest industrialized nations meeting in New Delhi. This was their first face-to-face conversation since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February.
The meeting was requested by Blinken and according to a State Department official traveling with the top US diplomat, the two spoke for roughly 10 minutes. Blinken urged Russia to reverse its decision to suspend cooperation in the New START nuclear arms treaty, accept a U.S. proposal for the release of U.S. citizen Paul Whelan, and reaffirmed Washington's support for Ukraine's peace proposal.
The US official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation, said Blinken had “disabused” Lavrov of any idea they might have that US support for Ukraine is wavering.
The official noted that Ukraine and the United States desire to bring the war to an end based on a certain basis, however, what has been absent is a similar resolution from Moscow.
Blinken reportedly informed the Russian foreign minister that the US will continue to back Ukraine until the situation is resolved. He also implored Russia to come back to the New START nuclear arms control treaty that was recently declined by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The US recently announced another large tranche of weapons to Ukraine, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who was recently in Ukraine, pledged more U.S. economic aid.
India, who is the current Chair of the G-20, has expressed a desire that the conflict in Ukraine should not be the primary focus of the G-20 meetings and has proposed that topics more pertinent to the Global South, such as climate change, food security, inflation and debt relief, be given priority attention.
The US Secretary and the Russian Foreign Minister have only been in contact one other time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, speaking by phone over the summer to discuss a U.S. proposal for Russia to release both Whelan and formerly detained WNBA star Brittney Griner.
The relationship between the two nations has deteriorated due to the war, with the U.S. imposing thousands of sanctions on Russia and providing military, economic, and diplomatic assistance to Ukraine.
News on Thursday follows after the U.S.
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5. “Blinken met with Russian foreign minister for first time since Ukraine war began” KOMU 8, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.komu.com/news/nationworld/blinken-met-with-russian-foreign-minister-for-first-time-since-ukraine-war-began/article_964709bc-c4e5-583e-ae49-97cc37b6bdb2.html
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