America’s Blinken and Russia’s Lavrov Meet For First Time Since Russia’s Invasion

Thursday, March 2, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags:

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

NEW DELHI/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov briefly spoke one-on-one in their first private meeting since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February last year.

Their unexpected talks on the sidelines of a Group of 20 (G-20) summit in New Delhi, India, suggested that the Biden administration hopes to keep talking with Moscow despite being rivals in Europe’s worst armed conflict since World War Two.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether both sides had agreed on a road to peace for a war that killed tens of thousands of people, injured many more, and displaced millions.

The short encounter came as relations between Washington and Moscow plummeted over Russia’s war with Ukraine. Tensions also soared over sanctions and recriminations on matters ranging from arms control to embassy staffing and prisoners.

U.S. officials said Blinken and Lavrov chatted for roughly 10 minutes during the G-20 conference of foreign ministers in New Delhi.

While there was no breakthrough, observers said the fact that both men met was remarkable, with relations at perhaps their lowest point since the Cuban Missile Crisis during the Cold War.

Blinken said he told Lavrov that the U.S. would continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes and would push for the war to end through diplomatic terms that Kyiv agrees to.


Blinken said he told Lavrov that the U.S. would continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes and would push for the war to end through diplomatic terms that Kyiv agrees to.

“End this war of aggression, engage in meaningful diplomacy that can produce a just and durable peace,” Blinken said he had told Lavrov. But, he noted that “President [Vladimir] Putin has demonstrated zero interest in engaging, saying there’s nothing to even talk about unless and until Ukraine accepts, and I quote, ‘the new territorial reality’.”

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

“Mutual compliance is in the interest of both our countries,” Blinken recalled telling Lavrov. He added, “that no matter what else is happening in the world, in our relationship, the United States is always ready to engage and act on strategic arms control, just as the United States and the Soviet Union did even at the height of the Cold War.”

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

Earlier, Blinken had told the G-20 meeting that Russia’s war with Ukraine could not go unchallenged.

Russia had no immediate comment on the substance of the conversation, but Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Blinken had asked to speak to Lavrov.

It was their first contact since last summer when Blinken talked to Lavrov by phone about a U.S. proposal for Russia to release Whelan and formerly detained U.S. basketball star, Brittney Griner. Griner was later freed in exchange for imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, but Whelan remains detained in Russia.

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