Blinken calls Lavrov for the first time since the beginning of the war

EThe foreign ministers of the United States and Russia have spoken to each other for the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine war in February. “We had an open and direct conversation,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Friday Sergey Lavrov He said the world would “never” accept an annexation of Ukrainian lands. He also put “pressure” on the Russian side to accept a Washington proposal to free two US citizens held captive in Russia.

Blinken said he also urged Lavrov to honor the Turkey-brokered grain export deal. According to the US chief diplomat, he also found clear words about any plans by Moscow to annex additional areas of Ukraine currently occupied by the Russian military. He told Lavrov that for Russia would mean “additional costs,” Blinken said.

On the possible release of basketball player Brittney Griner and former US soldier Paul Whelan imprisoned in Russia, Blinken said he had urged Moscow to accept Washington’s “serious proposal” for their release Exchange of the two US citizens with the Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout imprisoned in America.

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