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

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to “end this war of aggression” against Ukraine.

Mr Blinken’s remarks are the first he has made to Mr Lavrov in person since Russia’s full-scale invasion began more than a year ago.

On Thursday, the two had a brief meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in India’s capital, Delhi.

Mr. Blinken also brought up the case of Paul Whelan, an American who is being held in Russia.

According to a senior State Department official, the conversation in Delhi lasted less than 10 minutes; they spoke “on the move,” according to the Russian foreign ministry, downplaying the exchange.

“I told the foreign minister [Sergei Lavrov] what I and so many others said at the United Nations last week, 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,” Mr Blinken said at a press conference following the talks.

He said he also urged Russia to rejoin the New START nuclear arms control treaty, describing as “irresponsible” Moscow’s recent decision to suspend its participation in the agreement.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, confirmed the meeting but provided no further details.

G20 talks are dominated by bitter divisions over Ukraine.
Mr. Blinken and Mr. Lavrov last met in Geneva in January 2022.

Mr. Lavrov had earlier accused Western countries of attempting to persuade neutral states to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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

Mr Lavrov did not comment on his “elbow brush” with his US counterpart, but it was clear that it was not a diplomatic negotiation.

During the G20 meeting, he accused the West of encouraging Kiev to keep fighting.

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