Sergey Lavrov has been instructed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to “stop this war of aggression” against Ukraine.
Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion more than a year ago, these are the first comments Mr. Blinken has made to Mr. Lavrov in person.
On Thursday, the two had a brief encounter in Delhi, the capital of India, outside the G20 conference.
Paul Whelan, an American arrested in Russia, was another issue Mr. Blinken brought up.
A senior State Department official stated the discussion in Delhi lasted less than 10 minutes – they chatted “on the fly” said the Russian foreign ministry, downplaying the exchange.
“I told the foreign minister [Sergei Lavrov] what I and so many many others said last week at the United Nations, 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 briefing following the talks.
He said that he had also pushed Moscow to reverse its recent decision to suspend its observance of the nuclear weapons limitation treaty, calling it “irresponsible,” and that Moscow should return to the deal.
The meeting was confirmed, but no other information was provided by Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry.
G20 negotiations are dominated by sour differences over Ukraine.
Mr. Blinken and Mr. Lavrov last spoke in Geneva in January 2022.
Earlier on Thursday, Mr. Lavrov charged that Western nations were attempting to persuade neutral nations to denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The West “keeps trying to push everyone and everything,” he declared.
The “elbow brush” between Mr. Lavrov and his US counterpart was not mentioned, but it was obvious that it was not a diplomatic negotiation.
At the G20 summit, he said that the West was inciting Kiev to escalate the conflict.
Differences over the conflict have gotten uglier over the past year, as evidenced by the foreign ministers’ inability to come to an agreement on a unified statement.
During the meeting in Delhi, Mr. Blinken allegedly spoke with leading diplomats about gaining support for Ukraine.
Later that day, while testifying via video link before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, he reiterated his denunciation of Russia.
Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, had “demonstrated zero desire in engaging,” he claimed.
The G20 accounts for 85% of global economic activity and two-thirds of its population, and it is made up of the world’s 19 richest countries plus the European Union.