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For the first time since Russia's invasion, Blinken and Lavrov meet

According to a US State Department official, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, chatted for less than 10 minutes today on the fringes of the G20 conference in New Delhi.

According to the official, in what is thought to be their first face-to-face contact since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Blinken reaffirmed to Lavrov that Washington was prepared to help Ukraine's defence for however long it took.

Blinken also urged Moscow to rethink its decision to withdraw from the New Start nuclear pact and free arrested American citizen Paul Whelan.

According to the official:

The secretary regarded the goal of this as conveying three straightforward signals that we believe advance our interests.

We always hope that the Russians would reconsider their decision and engage in a diplomatic process that will result in a just and lasting peace, but I wouldn't say that anything changed in the short term as a result of this meeting.

During a press conference following the G20 foreign ministers' meeting on Thursday, Lavrov made no mention of the meeting.

The meeting was confirmed by Russia's foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, who told CNN:

Blinken requested communication with Lavrov. Sergey Viktorovich [Lavrov] spoke at the second session of the [G20]. There were no negotiations, meetings, or anything else.

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