August 14, 2022
Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Friday with Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov in a

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Friday with Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov in a “frank and direct dialog” in regards to the “considerable proposal” that the U.S. has put ahead in an try to safe the discharge of WNBA superstar Brittney Griner and previous U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, Blinken mentioned Friday throughout a press convention. 

That is the primary time the U.S. and Russian opposite numbers have spoken for the reason that get started of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Blinken mentioned he pressed the Kremlin to just accept the proposal. “I am not going to signify his reaction, and I will’t provide you with an review of whether or not I feel issues are any longer or much less most probably, nevertheless it was once vital that he heard without delay from me on that.” 

Russia has had the proposal “for some weeks now.” He didn’t ascertain the id of any Russians who could be swapped for Griner and Whelan, however CNN has reported that Russia desires convicted Russian fingers broker Viktor Bout. On Wednesday, Blinken declined to remark at the stories. 

Griner was once arrested on Feb. 17 at a Moscow airport, when customs officers mentioned they discovered vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her baggage. Whelan has been in Russian custody since December 2018, when he visited Russia for a pal’s marriage ceremony. He was once convicted in a Russian court docket of espionage fees and sentenced to 16 years in jail in 2020.

Blinken additionally recommended Russia to meet its commitments at the Ukraine grain deal, including that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Verge of collapse was once in Odessa Friday morning, the place “she showed the ships are loaded and able to move.” He mentioned it was once vital that Lavrov listen it from him that the sector expects “that Russia would transfer ahead with its commitments and would prevent, finish the blockade and make allowance the ships to sail.”

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Lower than 24 hours after Russia struck a protracted awaited maintain Ukraine, Turkey and the United International locations on permitting grain shipments to depart Ukrainian ports, Russian missiles hit Odessa, a port town at the Black Sea.

“In case of non-fulfillment, Russia will endure complete accountability for a world meals disaster,” Ukrainian Overseas Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko mentioned.

There was once no indication that Lavrov was once prepared to speak with Blinken about finishing the six-month warfare. Blinken mentioned he noticed “no opening — willingness at the a part of Russia to interact meaningfully on finishing the aggression.”