Blinken, Lavrov speak amid war of words over Ukraine at G20 meet – World

The United States and its European allies sparred with Russia over the war in Ukraine at a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in New Delhi on Thursday, with the rival sides each accusing the other of destabilising the world.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had a brief encounter on the meeting’s sidelines during which Blinken urged Russia to reverse its decision on the New START nuclear treaty, a senior US official said.

Blinken also told Lavrov that Washington was prepared to support Ukraine to defend itself for as long as it takes, the official said.

The two spoke for less than 10 minutes in what is believed to be their first one-on-one conversation in person since before Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

“We always remain hopeful that the Russians will reverse their decision and be prepared to engage in a diplomatic process that can lead to a just and durable peace, but I wouldn’t say that coming out of this encounter there was any expectation that things will change in the near term,” the US official said.

Blinken, the official added, wanted to “disabuse the Russians of any notion that our support (for Ukraine) might be wavering or the support from our allies and partners might be wavering”.

The Russian foreign ministry said Lavrov and Blinken spoke “on the move” but did not hold negotiations or a meeting, Russian news agencies reported.

News of the exchange came at the end of the day-long G20 meeting which was overshadowed by the Ukraine war.

The United States and its European allies urged the Group of 20 (G20) nations to keep up pressure on Moscow to end the conflict, now in its second year.

Russia hit back, accusing the West of turning work on the G20 agenda into a “farce” and said Western delegations wanted to shift responsibility for their economic failures onto Moscow.

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