Blinken, Lavrov speak at G20 meeting as US-Russia tensions rise | News of war between Russia and Ukraine
The Russian foreign ministry confirmed that they spoke ‘on movement’ at the G20 meeting in India but said they did not hold negotiations on Ukraine.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have met briefly at a meeting of top diplomats from the Group of 20 countries in the first high-level meeting in months between the two countries.
US officials said Blinken and Lavrov spoke Thursday for about 10 minutes on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in New Delhi. The brief incident comes as relations between Washington and Moscow have deteriorated as tensions over Russia’s war with Ukraine have risen.
A senior US official said Blinken used the debate to make three points to Lavrov: that the United States would support Ukraine in the conflict for as long as it takes to end the war, that it should to Russia to reverse its decision to stop participating in the war. the New START nuclear treaty and that Moscow should release the detained American Paul Whelan.
The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation, said Blinken had “abused” Lavrov about any suggestion they might have US aid to Ukraine continues to grow.
The official refused to identify Lavrov’s response but said that Blinken did not get the impression that there would be any change in Russia’s behavior in the long term.
Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed that Lavrov and Blinken spoke while “moving” at the G20 meeting but did not hold talks or a meeting, Russian news agencies said.
Reporting in New Delhi, Al Jazeera’s Pavni Mittal said the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting ended on a “tense and divisive note”.
“There is no joint declaration or statement that was expected given what happened last week at the G20 finance ministers meeting. This is due to the opinions against the participating countries about the ongoing war in Ukraine. That is the main theme of the G20 meetings today and it has been for the past week,” Mittal said.
Mittal said that while there was no scheduled meeting between the US and Russia, US foreign secretary Antony Blinken and Russian foreign secretary Sergei Lavrov met “for about 10 minutes”.
“The US reiterated its unwavering support for Ukraine. Blinken urged Lavrov to reverse the ban on the NEW START nuclear weapons treaty. Lavrov presided over a press conference where he blamed western countries for making ’emotional statements’ and canceling the G20 agenda. He also supported China, which was criticized by the US and Germany for supplying arms to Russia,” Mittal said.
This marks the first contact Blinken and Lavrov have had since July, when they spoke by phone about the US proposal for Russia to release Whelan and WNBA star Brittney Griner, who had to hold before.
Griner was later released in a swap for jailed Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, but Whelan remains in custody in Russia after being charged with treason.