Anthony Blinken Blinken demanded that Lavrov decide on the release of Greiner and Whelan
Secretary of State spoke by phone with a Russian foreign minister for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Friday that he demanded that the foreign minister Russian Affairs Sergey Lavrov to accept the US offer to release the detained Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
A senior US diplomat declined to characterize Lavrov's reaction, saying, “I can't give you an estimate of how things are more or less the way things are… But it was important that he heard about it directly.”
Blinken said that on Friday he had a “frank and direct” conversation with Lavrov, during which he also reminded the Russian Foreign Minister that Russia must fulfill the obligations that he assumed under the deal to export grain from Ukraine.< /p>
In addition, Blinken emphasized that the world would not accept Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory.
“It was very important that the Russians hear from us directly that this will not be accepted – and not only will it not be accepted, but will lead to additional significant consequences for Russia,” the Secretary of State emphasized.
Blinken said, that Russia is preparing bogus referendums to try to “falsely demonstrate that people in these regions of Ukraine are somehow seeking to become part of Russia.”
Such a vote would be a tool for Russian President Vladimir Putin in his desire to “occupy both more Ukrainian territory,” he added.
On Wednesday, Blinken said Washington had made a “substantial offer” to the Kremlin in an effort to secure the release of American basketball player Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan, who were detained in Russia.
A Reuters source said that Washington is ready to exchange convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, convicted in the United States, as part of this deal.
Don't talk to Blinken and Lavrov Be gone since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.