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Blinken and Lavrov meet for first time since Ukraine war

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told his Russian counterpart the US will support Ukraine “for as long as it takes”.

Mr Blinken met briefly with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the G20 summit in India.

It is the first time the two have spoken face to face since the start of the Ukraine war one year ago.

A senior State Department official said the discussion in Delhi lasted less than 10 minutes.

Mr Blinken also told Mr Lavrov that Russia should release Paul Whelan, an imprisoned American citizen, and that Russia should rejoin the New START nuclear arms control treaty that it recently withdrew from.

A State Department official told reporters that Mr Blinken had “disabused” Mr Lavrov of any idea that US support for Ukraine is wavering.

The official did not say how Mr Lavrov responded, but said that there was no indication that Russia will change course in the near term.

The Russian foreign ministry said Mr Blinken had asked to speak to Mr Lavrov but did not comment on the conversation.

The last time the two met was in Geneva in January 2022.

Both Mr Lavrov and Mr Blinken commented on the war in Ukraine earlier during the Delhi summit.

At a news conference on Thursday, Mr Lavrov accused Western countries of trying to influence neutral states to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The West continues its attempts to push everyone and everything,” he said.

Mr Blinken reportedly held talks with top diplomats during the Delhi summit to rally support for Ukraine. In a closed-door group meeting on Thursday morning, Mr Blinken reemphasised his condemnation of the war.

“We must continue to call on Russia to end its war of aggression and withdraw from Ukraine for the sake of international peace and economic stability,” he said, according to a text of his remarks released to reporters by the US State Department.

“Unfortunately, this meeting has again been marred by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine,” he added.

Mr Blinken repeated his condemnation to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva later in the day, where he appeared via video conference.

The G20, which includes the world’s 19 wealthiest nations plus the European Union, accounts for 85% of global economic output and two-thirds of its population.


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