Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met briefly on Thursday in New Delhi, marking the highest-level in-person talks between the two nations in recent times including talks on Ukraine. However, tensions between the two countries remained unresolved.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the G-20 conference of foreign ministers, where the ongoing war in Ukraine was the main topic of discussion. Despite several rounds of talks, the G-20 failed to reach a consensus on the issue.
During his address, Blinken called on Russia to end its “war of aggression” in Ukraine and urged Moscow to return to participation in the New START nuclear treaty. He also appealed to the Russian government to release detained American citizen Paul Whelan.
Lavrov, on the other hand, dismissed Western claims of Russia’s isolation and instead blamed the West for isolating itself. He did not address Blinken’s specific concerns but instead highlighted the importance of building trust and cooperation between the two nations.
The meeting between the two officials comes at a time of strained relations between Russia and the United States. The U.S. has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia in recent years, citing human rights abuses, election interference, and cyberattacks.
The war in Ukraine, which began in 2014, has also been a major point of contention between the two nations. Russia has been accused of providing military support to separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, a charge that Moscow denies.
The New START nuclear treaty, which was signed in 2010, limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads and delivery systems that the U.S. and Russia can possess. The treaty is set to expire in 2026, and there have been concerns about its renewal.
The brief meeting between Lavrov and Blinken did not result in any major breakthroughs, but it was seen as a small step towards easing tensions between the two nations. However, it remains to be seen whether the two sides will be able to make any significant progress in resolving their differences in the near future.