Blinken and Lavrov meet for the first time since the Ukraine conflict.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told his Russian counterpart the US will support Ukraine “for as long as it takes”.

On the sidelines of the G20 summit in India, Mr Blinken met briefly with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

It’s the first time the two have spoken face to face since the Ukraine war began a year ago.

According to a senior State Department official, the discussion in Delhi lasted less than ten minutes.

Mr. Blinken also told Mr. Lavrov that Russia should release American citizen Paul Whelan and rejoin the New START nuclear arms control treaty, from which it recently withdrew.

According to a State Department official, Mr. Blinken “disabused” Mr. Lavrov of any notion that US support for Ukraine is waning.

The official did not elaborate on Mr. Lavrov’s response, but stated that there is no indication that Russia will change course in the near future.

G20 talks are dominated by bitter divisions over Ukraine.
The Russian foreign ministry stated that Mr. Blinken requested to speak with Mr. Lavrov but did not elaborate on the conversation.

The last time the two met was in January 2022 in Geneva.

Earlier in the Delhi summit, both Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Blinken addressed the Ukrainian conflict.

Mr Lavrov accused Western countries of attempting to persuade neutral states to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during a news conference on Thursday.

“The West’s attempts to push everyone and everything continue,” he said.

During the Delhi summit, Mr Blinken reportedly met with top diplomats to rally support for Ukraine. Mr Blinken reiterated his opposition to the war in a closed-door group meeting on Thursday morning.

“For the sake of international peace and economic stability, we must continue to call on Russia to end its war of aggression and withdraw from Ukraine,” he said, according to a text of his remarks released to reporters by the US State Department.

“Unfortunately, Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine has once again marred this meeting,” he added.

Mr. Blinken reiterated his condemnation later in the day to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, where he appeared via video conference.

The G20, which consists of the world’s 19 richest countries plus the European Union, accounts for 85% of global economic output and two-thirds of its population.

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