NEW DELHI – The Secretary of State Anthony Blinken He met briefly with his Russian counterpart on Thursday, Sergei Lavrovon the sidelines of a meeting of the Group of 20, the first face-off between the two top diplomats since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago.
The unexpected encounter came as the Russian government took advantage of the G-20 foreign ministers meeting in the Indian capital New Delhi to accuse Western nations of “blackmail and threats”.
In their meeting, Blinken made three points to Lavrov, a senior State Department official told reporters:
The United States will continue to support Ukraine in its defense against Russia “for as long as necessary”;
Russia should rejoin the New START nuclear arms control treaty, from which it recently withdrew, and abide by its terms;
and that Russia should release Paul Welan, a US citizen who the United States believes has been wrongfully imprisoned.
The official did not specify who initiated the meeting between the two diplomats.
Earlier on Thursday, Blinken took advantage of the G-20 meeting to ask Russia to do so retire of Ukraine in the interests of international peace and stability.
In addition, he held individual talks with leading diplomats from the G-20 countries, with the aim of gaining greater support for Ukraine, which is trying to repel the attack of Russian troops and is preparing for a possible new Russian offensive in spring.
“We must continue to call on Russia to end its aggressive war and withdraw from Ukraine for the sake of international peace and economic stability,” Blinken said during a closed meeting of the group in the morning, according to a text of the their statements. made available to reporters by the State Department.
“Unfortunately, this meeting was once again marred by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine,” he added.
Blinken said Wednesday, before flying from Uzbekistan to India, that he was not scheduled to meet with Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, or with qin bandForeign Minister of China.
Blinken and Lavrov had avoided direct confrontation since the war began in February last year.
Following a meeting between Lavrov and Qin on the sidelines of the war, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a scathing statement saying Western nations meddled in “other countries’ internal affairs, to enforce unilateral approaches through blackmail” and threats, and are opposed to democratization of international relations”.
On Thursday, Russian state media downplayed the chances of a meeting between Blinken and Lavrov.
The two men “seated apart” from each other at the first plenary session of the G-20 meeting, Russian state media reported.
A spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, said a meeting between the two would not take place because “destruction is part of the logic of US foreign policy in general,” state-run Tass news agency reported.
Lavrov said the meeting will not end with the usual joint statement due to the disagreements about the war in Ukraine.
indian prime minister, Narendra Modihe said in a video address to diplomats that, while he understands that the discussions “would be influenced by the geopolitical tensions of the moment” – with clear reference to the war in Ukraine -, he hopes they will keep the focus on IL global crises affecting many developing nations of the world.
He cited the economic problems, climate change and the pandemic.
However, the war in Ukraine dominated the morning session and other parts of the meeting.
Blinken met alone with Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s foreign minister, and the two “discussed how to mitigate the global impacts of Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine” and “US-India cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” the Department said. of state in a declaration.
The second sentence refers to strategic efforts in Asia, including military coordination, to counter China.
On Wednesday in Uzbekistan, his second stop on a two-day trip to Central Asia,
Blinken said the Biden administration had seen “no evidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin was willing to start serious peace talks.
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Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.