US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Iceland and underscored President Joe Biden’s resolve to protect US citizens and act firmly in defense of US interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or its allies.
According to the details, Blinken also discussed Russia’s continued military deployments in and near Ukraine, as well as the wellbeing of the dissident Alexei Navalny, and asked for the release of two Americans held by Russia – Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed.
US Secretary of State discussed Russia’s activities in the Syrian civil war and “underscored the imperative of ensuring humanitarian access for the people of Syria”.
Lavrov said before the meeting that there were “serious differences” in how the US and Russia viewed major issues in the world, but added that “our task is to make the best of the diplomatic opportunities that we have”.
According to the US account, Blinken suggested “enhanced co-operation” involving Afghanistan, as well as curbing the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea.
It is worth mentioning here that the US-Russian relations remain tense, and fears of war with Ukraine rose last month when Putin sent tens of thousands of troops along the border between the two nations, seven years after he annexed Crimea. But Russia then announced a pullback, and Biden discussed the potential summit with Putin.