Blinken speaks to Lavrov for the first time since the start of the war

Blinken speaks to Lavrov for the first time since the start of the war

07/30/2022 09:26 (act 07/30/2022 09:30)

US Secretary of State Blinken spoke to his Russian counterpart on the phone

US Secretary of State Blinken on the phone with his Russian counterpart ©APA/AFP

For the first time since the start of the Ukraine war in February, the US and Russian foreign ministers spoke directly to each other. “We had an open and direct conversation,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Washington on Friday. He told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the world would “never” accept an annexation of Ukrainian territories.

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

On the possible release of professional basketball player Brittney Griner and former US soldier Paul Whelan, who were imprisoned in Russia, Blinken said he asked Moscow to accept Washington’s “serious proposal” for their release. According to media reports, the US plan communicated weeks ago includes an exchange of the two US citizens with Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout, who is imprisoned in the US.