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

  • By Barbara Plett Usher in Delhi and Nadine Yousif
  • BBC News

source of images, Getty Images


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

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has asked his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to “put an end to this war of aggression” against Ukraine.

The remarks are the first Mr. Blinken has faced Mr. Lavrov since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion more than a year ago.

The two men met briefly on Thursday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Delhi, the Indian capital.

Mr. Blinken also mentioned 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 talked “on the move”, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, playing down the exchange.

“I told the Minister of Foreign Affairs [Sergei Lavrov] what I and so many others said last week at the United Nations, and what so many G20 foreign ministers have said today – end this war of aggression, engage in a meaningful diplomacy that can produce a just and lasting peace,” Blinken said during a briefing after the talks.

He said he had also urged Russia to join the New START nuclear arms control treaty, calling Moscow’s recent decision to suspend its participation in the deal “irresponsible”.

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

The last time Mr. Blinken and Mr. Lavrov met was in Geneva in January 2022.

Earlier on Thursday, 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 Lavrov said nothing about the “nudge” with his US counterpart – but it was clearly not a diplomatic negotiation.

At the G20 meeting, he accused the West of encouraging kyiv to continue the war.

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

Mr Blinken reportedly held talks with senior diplomats at the Delhi summit to rally support for Ukraine.

He reiterated his condemnation of Russia before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva later in the day, appearing via video link.

But he said Russian President Vladimir Putin had “demonstrated no interest in engaging”.

The G20, which includes the 19 richest countries in the world plus the European Union, represents 85% of the world’s economic output and two-thirds of its population.

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