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Blinken, Lavrov meet for first time since invasion

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has told his Russian counterpart the US will support Ukraine “for as long as it takes”.

Mr Blinken met briefly with Rus­sian Foreign, Minister Sergei Lavrov, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in India.

It is the first time the two have spoken face to face since the start of the Ukraine war one year ago.

A senior State Department official said the discussion in Delhi lasted less than 10 minutes.

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Mr Blinken also told Mr Lavrov that Russia should release Paul Whelan, an imprisoned American citizen, and that Russia should rejoin the New START nuclear arms con­trol treaty that it recently withdrew from. The last time the two met was in Geneva in January 2022.

The Russian foreign ministry has reportedly denied there was a meet­ing or negotiations with the US at the Delhi summit.

The G20, which includes the world’s 19 wealthiest nations plus the European Union, accounts for 85 per cent of global economic out­put and two-thirds of its population.

President Joe Biden wants to end America’s “forever wars”, but he is pumping billions of dollars into one that could grind on for a long time.

After six months, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is entering a challenging new phase. Europe is facing a hard winter of high prices and fuel short­ages because of the fallout from sanctions against Moscow and Pres­ident Vladimir Putin’s suspension of Russian gas supplies. —BBC

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