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Short Meeting Between Blinken and Lavrov as US-Russia Tensions Rise

By 03/02/2023 11:51 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

At a gathering of top diplomats from the Group of 20 nations on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke briefly. This was the first high-level encounter between the two nations in months.

According to American sources, Blinken and Lavrov spoke for about 10 minutes outside the G-20 summit in New Delhi.

The brief meeting occurred as tensions over Russia’s conflict with Ukraine rose, and relations between Washington and Moscow deteriorated.

According to a senior U.S. official, Blinken used the conversation to stress to Lavrov three points: the U.S. would support Ukraine in the conflict for however long it takes to put an end to it; Russia should reconsider its decision to suspend participation in the New START nuclear treaty; and Moscow should free American Paul Whelan who is currently detained.

The person said that Blinken had “disabused” Lavrov of any notion that U.S. support for Ukraine was waning, speaking to reporters anonymously to discuss the private call.

The person declined to comment on Lavrov’s reaction but noted that Blinken did not understand that Russia’s behavior would alter anytime soon.

Lavrov told reporters that Moscow would keep pushing its action in Ukraine, although he did not mention speaking with Blinken.

He said we don’t feel isolated, dismissing Western accusations of Russia’s isolation. The West has isolated itself, and ultimately it will understand that.

He claimed that although the West was ostensibly preventing such talks, Moscow was still willing to hold discussions about resolving the Ukrainian crisis.

He remarked that they wanted to talk to us, but I don’t recall my Western colleagues asking Ukraine to speak to us. “They are motivating Ukraine to escalate the conflict.”

Lavrov also made fun of American threats made against China. “Our Western counterparts have lost composure, abandoned politeness, and ignored diplomacy, switching only when it suits them.

Russia did not immediately address the conversation’s content, although Blinken had requested to talk with Lavrov, according to Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

That was their first communication since Blinken and Lavrov spoke on the phone last summer on a U.S. request for Russia to free Whelan and former WNBA star Brittney Griner. Griner was released in exchange for the jailed Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, while Whelan is still being held there.

Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan, has been detained for four years on espionage charges that his family and the US government claim are unfounded.

On the eve of Russia’s invasion in January 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland, Blinken and Lavrov last had face-to-face contact.

Blinken tried to address Russian President Vladimir Putin’s concerns about the U.S. and NATO at that meeting while warning Lavrov about the repercussions Russia would face if it carried out its planned military operation.

The negotiations were fruitless as Russia advanced its plans for an invasion, and Blinken subsequently canceled a follow-up meeting with Lavrov that was scheduled for just two days before Moscow finally attacked on February 24, 2022.

Since the war started, the two men have attended numerous international gatherings, most notably the most recent G-20 foreign ministers’ summit in Bali, Indonesia.



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