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Blinken reports no “major breakthroughs” in meeting with Russian minister


As expected, there wasn’t much in the way of progress made in the ongoing negotiations between the United States and Russia when Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva Friday. The meeting lasted roughly 90 minutes.

“The discussion today with Minister Lavrov was frank and substantive,” Blinken said at a news conference after the meeting. “We didn’t expect any major breakthroughs to happen today, but I believe we are now on a clearer path in terms of understanding each other’s concerns, each other’s positions.” In his own news conference after the meeting, Lavrov described the talks as “sincere.”

“[Blinken] agreed on the need to be more sensible in conducting this dialogue, and I hope emotions boil down, although there are no guarantees,” Lavrov said.

One of the biggest questions heading into the meeting was whether or not Blinken would provide a written response to the security demands Russia published last month. Earlier this week, Blinken said he would not do so. While he didn’t on Friday, Lavrov said “we will get a written reaction next week, as Anthony Blinken stressed a few times.” Blinken confirmed as much in his comments after the meeting.

“Based on the discussions today, Foreign Minister Lavrov and I agreed that it’s important for the diplomatic process to continue,” Blinken said. “We anticipate that we will be able to share with Russia our concerns and ideas in more detail and in writing next week.  And we agreed to further discussions after that.”

With Blinken making multiple stops to discuss Ukraine this week, as well as the bipartisan group of senators’ trip to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the question of whether or not President Joe Biden needed to have another meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin came up Friday. The two met twice last month.

“If it proves useful and productive for the two presidents to meet, to talk, to engage to try to carry things forward, I think we’re fully prepared to do that,” Blinken said. “President Biden has met here in Geneva with President Putin. He’s spoken to him on the phone or via videoconference on a number of occasions. And if we conclude and the Russians conclude that the best way to resolve things is through a further conversation between them, we’re certainly prepared to do that.”