In a surprise meeting, Antony Blinken demanded that Sergei Lavrov end Russia’s aggression against Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (center, top) walks past Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a Group of 20 foreign ministers meeting in New Delhi, India (Olivier Douliery/Pool Photo via AP) (Olivier Douliery/)

The US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkenand the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrovmet briefly on Thursday at a summit of foreign ministers from the G20 in Indiain the first high-level meeting between the two countries in months.

According to US officials, blinken and lavrov they chatted for about 10 minutes in an aside of the meeting of the group of 20 in New Delhi. The brief meeting coincides with the cooling of relations between Washington and Moscow and the increase in tensions over Russia’s war in Ukraine.

In a press conference, Blinken claimed that he told Lavrov that the United States will continue supporting Ukraine for as long as necessary and will press for an end to the war through whatever diplomatic terms kyiv agrees to.

“Put an end to this war of aggression, engage in serious diplomacy that can produce a just and lasting peace,” Blinken said, indicating to Lavrov. However, he noted that “President Putin has shown zero interest in participating, saying there is nothing to talk about until Ukraine accepts the new territorial reality.”

Blinken said he also urged Russia to reverse “its irresponsible decision and return” to participating in the New START nuclear treaty.

“Mutual compliance is in the interest of both our countriesBlinken told Lavrov, adding that the United States was always willing to discuss arms control with Russia no matter what friction there is in the bilateral relationship.

Blinken said he also urged Moscow to release the detained American. Paul Whelan and that “the United States has presented a serious proposal. Russia should take it.”

US Secretary Antony Blinken (Olivier Douliery via REUTERS)
US Secretary Antony Blinken (Olivier Douliery via REUTERS) (POOL/)

lavrov, who did not mention speaking to Blinken, told reporters that Moscow will continue to press its actions in Ukraine. He shrugged off Western claims about the isolation of Russia and said that “we do not feel isolated. It is the West that has isolated itself and it will eventually realize that.”

He said Russia remains open to talks to end the conflict in Ukraine, but accused the West of effectively blocking such talks.

They are asking us to have conversations, but I don’t remember any Western colleague asking Ukraine to have talks,” he said. “They are encouraging Ukraine to continue the war.”

Lavrov also mocked US threats against China. “Our Western colleagues have lost their self-control, have forgotten their manners and have put diplomacy aside, turning exclusively to blackmail and threats.” she pointed out.

Russia has not yet disclosed what was said in the conversation, but Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zajárova said it was Blinken who asked to speak to her counterpart.

Lavrov and Blinken don’t they had had no personal meetings since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022.

In August last year both diplomats met at a ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Phnom Penh, but did not hold any conversation. Later, Lavrov assured that he did not see that Blinken wanted to talk.

Last summer they talked on the phone about Washington’s proposal that Moscow release Whelan already the star of the WNBA Brittney Griner.

(With information from AP and EFE)

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