Live Updates: Blinken and Lavrov Meet For the First Time Since Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine


Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia briefly spoke one on one during a Group of 20 summit. The unexpected meeting signaled that the Biden administration hopes to keep talking with Moscow despite being on opposing sides of the war.

Here are the latest developments:

The top diplomats from the United States and Russia spoke face-to-face on Thursday for the first time since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a brief meeting on the sidelines of a gathering of envoys from the Group of 20 nations that has been dominated by tensions over the war.

The meeting between Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov was unexpected, and came as the Russian government used the G20 meeting to lash out at calls to end its invasion, accusing Western nations of “blackmail and threats.”

Mr. Blinken told Mr. Lavrov that the United States would support Ukraine in its defense against Russia “for as long as it takes”; that Russia should rejoin the New START nuclear arms control treaty from which it recently withdrew, and abide by the terms; and that Russia should release Paul Whelan, an imprisoned American citizen.

Here is what to know:

  • Blinken requested the meeting with Mr. Lavrov, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, which suggests that the Biden administration wants to keep lines of communication open with Russia despite being on opposing sides of the war in Ukraine
  • The meeting of G20 foreign ministers, like a gathering of finance ministers last month, failed to produce a joint communiqué because of disagreements over the war. In a news conference, Mr. Blinken said that Russia and India were the two nations blocking it.
  • A Russian partisan group with ties to the Ukrainian military claimed that it had briefly taken control of a village inside the Russian border on Thursday. President Vladimir V. Putin denounced the episode as a “terrorist” attack, a label Russia frequently applies to military setbacks in the war in Ukraine.
  • On the eve of a visit to Washington, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany reaffirmed his support for Ukraine and promised to continue strengthening his country’s own armed forces.