Blinken Meets With Sergey Lavrov For First Time Since War

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Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Thursday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the G20 summit, marking the first time the two officials have met since the beginning of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

In the unexpected meeting in New Delhi, India, Blinked stressed that the U.S. supports a peaceful solution to the war that doesn’t comprise Ukraine’s territorial integrity, The Washington Post reported.

Blinken said “that Ukraine and the United States want this war to end on that basis … but what has been missing is a similar determination from Moscow,” a State Department official told the outlet.

He also requested Russia to accept the offer to release detained U.S. citizen Paul Whelan and for Russia to rejoin the New START Treaty, which Russian President Vladimir Putin recently pulled out of, the official said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken greets Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) as they arrive for a meeting at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland, May 19, 2021, on the sidelines of the Arctic Council Ministerial summit. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“I told the foreign minister what I and so many many others said last week at the United Nations, and what so many G20 foreign ministers said today — end this war of aggression, engage in meaningful diplomacy that can produce a just and lasting peace,” Blinken said after the talks.

“There were no negotiations” between the two officials during the brief meeting, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS. Blinken requested the conversation and the meeting happened while Lavrov was “on the go,” she added.

President Joe Biden has not met with Putin since Russia started the war on Feb. 24, 2022. Blinken has had little contact with Lavrov, and spoke with him about the release of basketball star Brittney Griner in 2022, the Washington Post reported. (RELATED: Biden Says US Does ‘Not Seek To Control Or Destroy’ Russia During Speech In Poland)

Biden has had multiple meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, including hosting him at the White House in December and visiting him in Ukraine in February.