Blinken Meets With Russian Counterpart


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken makes a statement to the media prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Friday, March 4, 2022. | Image by Alexandros Michailidis, Shutterstock

Amid deteriorating relations between Washington and Moscow, high-level officials from both sides spoke together on Thursday for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Some may have had high hopes for the brief meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on March 2. However, it appeared to have done little to ease tensions, per AP News.

According to U.S. officials, both parties conversed for around 10 minutes on the sidelines of the G-20 conference held in New Delhi.

Blinken later spoke of the discussion at a press conference, saying that he had asked Lavrov to “End this war of aggression, engage in meaningful diplomacy that can produce a just and durable peace,” per AP News.

In the meantime, Blinken explained that the U.S. would support Ukraine against Russian forces.

Yet Blinken noted, per AP News, that “President Putin has demonstrated zero interest in engaging, saying there’s nothing to even talk about unless and until Ukraine accepts and I quote, ‘the new territorial reality.’”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has just passed its first anniversary. Russia now holds one-fifth of Ukraine’s pre-war territory, and a bloody offensive continues to wage in the Donbas region, as The Dallas Express reported.

A former U.S. Marine fighting in Bakhmut, Troy Offenbecker, told ABC News, “[The artillery] is nonstop. [Russia] have maybe run into a shortage of shells lately, but the past couple of weeks it’s been nonstop. All day and night.”

Ukraine might also soon face various supply woes despite having received commitments of military aid from its allies.

The recent G-20 meeting of foreign ministers discussed the war in Ukraine, as well as China’s increasingly aggressive moves in the South China Sea, but reached no consensus on anything, AP News reported.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had previously urged all members of the fragmented G-20 to reach a consensus on matters that affect poorer nations, even if the broader divide between the East and West concerning Ukraine could not be resolved.

“We are meeting at a time of deep global divisions,” Modi had told the G-20 attendees, per AP News, which included officials from the U.S., Russia, China, and others.

According to AP News, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar pointed to the recent G-20 meeting’s failure to find common ground as down to differences on the issue of the war in Ukraine that could not be reconciled. Jaishankar noted that a collective statement would have been possible if there had been a unanimous agreement on all issues.

Although the conference failed to reach a complete consensus, Blinken deemed the meeting as productive, per AP News. He emphasized that 18 out of 20 nations agreed to a statement urging an end to the war and immediate measures to enhance energy and food security, which have been adversely impacted by the conflict.

Relations between the U.S. and Russia are perhaps at their frostiest ever, with Putin recently canceling his country’s participation in the New START nuclear treaty. The agreement had limited the number of long-range nuclear warheads each could deploy.

Although the sideline talk between Blinken and Lavrov did not prove fruitful, reporting by AP News pointed out that at least diplomatic lines of communication are still open.

Although Russian officials did not immediately comment on the contents of the conversation, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova confirmed that Blinken had requested to speak to Lavrov, per AP News.

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