Blinken and Lavrov discuss nuclear deal, Ukraine on sidelines of G20 summit
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke briefly on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi about the nuclear deal and Ukraine
Reuters reports that Blinken told Lavrov that Washington is ready to support Ukraine's defense for as long as it takes.
A US official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity about the details of the conversation between Blinken and Lavrov, said that the US Secretary of State also called on Russia to reverse its decision to suspend participation in New START and to release detained US citizen Paul Whelan.
According to the source, Blinken “saw the purpose of this was to deliver these three direct messages, which we see as advancing our interests.”
However, the US pointed out that there are no signs that Russia is ready to change its position in the near future.
Antony Blinken confirmed on Thursday, March 2, that he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers' meeting in New Delhi, CNN reports.
“I urged Russia to reverse its irresponsible decision and return to implementing the New START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty], which places verifiable limits on the nuclear arsenals of the United State and the Russian federation. Mutual compliance is in the interest of both our countries. It's also what people around the world expect from us as nuclear powers,” he said at a news conference on Thursday in New Delhi.
According to Blinken, in a conversation with Lavrov, he stated that the United States is ready to cooperate with Russia on strategic nuclear arms control “regardless of what else is happening in the world and in our relations.”
Another topic of conversation between the heads of US and Russian diplomacy was the release of American Paul Whelan, who was illegally detained in Russia. The Secretary of State said that Washington had made a serious offer on this issue, and Moscow must accept it.
In addition, the head of the State Department called on Russia to stop the full-scale war in Ukraine and come to the negotiating table, reaffirming the US support for Ukraine. “Every G20 member and virtually every country, period, continues to bear the cost of Russia's war of aggression,” Blinken said.
The meeting between Blinken and Lavrov on the sidelines of the G20 was the first since January 2022. At the same time, Russian media reported that the two officials did not meet on the sidelines of the summit, but spoke on the fly. At Lavrov's press conference after the G20 meeting, there was no mention of the conversation with Blinken.
At a meeting of the G20 foreign ministers, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock calls on Sergei Lavrov to stop the aggression against Ukraine.