Russia claims the United States lied about a diplomatic meeting.

On Friday, the Russian ministry of foreign affairs stated that Secretary of State Antony Blinken lied about what he discussed with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

At the Group of Twenty (G20) conference in New Delhi on Thursday, Blinken and Lavrov had a private conversation as tensions between the United States and Russia over Moscow’s war in Ukraine remained high. Blinken spoke to the media following the conference and claimed that he discussed the release of Paul Whelan, an American citizen who was held in Russia, with Lavrov.

ADVERTISEMENT

In December 2018, Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, was taken into custody in Moscow on espionage charges, which he has denied. Whelan received a 16-year sentence in June 2020. While there hasn’t been a prisoner swap for Whelan, the United States got Brittney Griner, an American basketball star who was detained in Russia on drug charges, in December.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, posted a message on her Telegram channel stating that Lavrov informed her that Whelan was not discussed.

“Consulted Sergey Viktorovich [Lavrov] to determine whether Blinken mentioned Whelan yesterday. It turns out that the United States Secretary of State did not even bring it up. Yesterday’s State Department statements that Blinken was concerned about the situation surrounding the US citizen were false. According to a translation from the Kremlin-controlled news outlet TASS, “Unbelievable behavior of the US administration,” Zakharova wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

Newsweek contacted the U.S. State Department for comment, and spokesperson Ned Price provided a statement in response.

“Russia is lying once more, straight and simple. Price stated to Newsweek, “As we stated yesterday, Secretary Blinken urged Foreign Minister Lavrov to accept our serious proposal and release Paul Whelan, whom Moscow has wrongfully detained for years.”

“A serious proposal has been put forth by the United States. Moscow ought to grant it. We are determined to return Paul and every other American citizen who has been unlawfully detained abroad. “Until we do, we won’t rest,” Blinken stated.

ADVERTISEMENT

The highest U.S. diplomat claimed that he also discussed Moscow’s recent decision to withdraw from the New START treaty with his Russian counterpart. According to Blinken, he pleaded with Russia to return to the agreement that limits the number of nuclear weapons that the United States and Russia can have.

“Finally, I told the foreign minister what I and many others said last week at the United Nations and today at the G20: Stop this aggression war; Blinken said, “engage in meaningful diplomacy that can lead to a peace that is just and lasts.”

Other specifics that Blinken claimed were discussed during his meeting with Lavrov have not been disputed or confirmed by Kremlin officials.

The G20 meeting was centered on Russia’s war in Ukraine, but no agreement was reached on the ongoing conflict. According to the Associated Press, China and Russia raised objections to two paragraphs from a previous G20 delegation regarding the war in Ukraine, which prevented a joint communiqué.

Blinken stated after the conference that a consensus statement that would have condemned the war was blocked by China and Russia. read more….