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Blinken: I had “open” negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

Blinken: I had “open” negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at the State Department in Washington

© AFP

For the first time since the beginning of the Ukrainian war in February, the foreign ministers of the USA and Russia talked directly to each other. “We had an open and direct conversation,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Friday in Washington. He told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the world will “never” accept the annexation of Ukrainian territories. He also put “pressure” on the Russian side to accept Washington’s offer to release two US citizens held captive in Russia.

Blinken said he also urged Lavrov to honor the Turkish-brokered grain export deal. According to the top US diplomat, he was also tight-lipped about any plans by Moscow to annex additional territories in Ukraine currently occupied by the Russian military. Blinken said that he told Lavrov that this would mean “additional costs” for Russia.

On the possible release of basketball professor Brittney Griner and former US soldier Paul Whelan, who were imprisoned in Russia, Blinken said he urged Moscow to accept Washington’s “serious offer” for their release. According to media reports, the US plan reported weeks ago involves exchanging two US citizens for Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout, who is in a US prison.

AFP:

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