Blinken and Lavrov Meet in New Delhi, Discuss Ukraine and New START Treaty
On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a brief encounter with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in New Delhi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 foreign ministers’ meeting. This marks the first contact between the two countries’ top diplomats since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, 2022.
The meeting lasted less than 10 minutes and the senior State Department official familiar with the discussion reported that Blinken urged Russia to reverse its decision to suspend cooperation in the New START nuclear arms treaty and accept a U.S. proposal for the release of U.S. citizen Paul Whelan. Blinken also reaffirmed Washington's support for Ukraine’s peace proposal that maintains the country's territorial integrity.
At a press conference in New Delhi, Lavrov said that the West refused to include Russia's proposal on the need for an investigation of Nord Stream blasts in the G20 final declaration. He also came in support of China, which was criticized by the US and Germany for supplying weapons to Russia. Lavrov said that the West insisted on reproducing the same text that was agreed upon at the G20 summit last year in Bali, completely ignoring Russia’s arguments. He added that the West was speechless when they heard about Kiev's discrimination against Russian culture and language in Ukraine.
Blinken stated during a press conference that the United States stand ready to support Ukraine through diplomacy to end the war on this basis. He added that President Putin has demonstrated zero interest in engaging, while doubling down on his brutalization of Ukraine.
Recently, the United States announced a further large supply of weapons to Ukraine, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who had recently visited Ukraine, promising additional U.S. financial assistance. According to a State Department official traveling with Blinken, the two spoke for roughly 10 minutes, and the official added that Blinken had “disabused” Lavrov of any idea they might have that US support for Ukraine is wavering.
As India is the current chair of the G-20, it is hoping that the conflict in Ukraine won't be the primary topic of discussion at the summit, but rather, issues more pertinent to the Global South, such as climate change, food security, inflation, and debt relief will be at the forefront.
0. “Blinken has rare encounter with Russia's Lavrov at G-20 meeting in India” The Washington Post, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/03/02/blinken-lavrov-g20-russia/
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