Antony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov meet for the first time since the war in Ukraine

  • Barbara Bled Usher & Nadine Yusif in Delhi
  • BBC News

image source, Good pictures

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Sergei Lavrov (left) and Antony Blinken (right) last met in Geneva in January 2022.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has told Russian envoy Sergey Lavrov to “end this war of aggression” against Ukraine.

These are the first comments Mr Blinken has made to Mr Lavrov face-to-face since Russia’s full-scale invasion began a year ago.

The two met briefly on Thursday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in India’s capital, Delhi.

Mr Blinken also raised the case of Paul Whelan, an American detained in Russia.

A senior State Department official said the discussion in Delhi lasted less than 10 minutes — they spoke “in progress,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, downplaying the exchange.

“I told the foreign minister [Sergei Lavrov] “What I and many others said at the United Nations last week and what many G20 foreign ministers said today – end this war of aggression and engage in meaningful diplomacy that can build a just and lasting peace,” Mr Blinken said in a statement after the talks.

He said he would urge Russia to rejoin the New START nuclear arms control treaty and described Moscow’s recent decision to end its participation in the treaty as “irresponsible”.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed the meeting had taken place, but gave no further details.

Mr Blinken and Mr Lavrov last met in Geneva in January 2022.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Lavrov accused the West of trying to influence neutral countries to condemn Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

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

Mr Lavrov said nothing about the “brush of elbows” with his US counterpart – but that was hardly a diplomatic negotiation.

During the G20 meeting he accused him of encouraging Kiev to continue the war.

The failure of foreign ministers to agree on a joint statement shows that differences over the war have deepened over the past year.

Mr Blinken is said to have held talks with top diplomats during the Delhi summit to rally support for Ukraine.

Appearing via video link at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, he reiterated his condemnation of Russia.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin “has shown zero interest in engaging,” he said.

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

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