US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that he had a phone call with his Russian counterpart about wrongfully detained American citizens and food security.
This was the first phone call between the two officials since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February. While the US publicly announced earlier this week that the call would take place, Sergei Lavrov suggested that he did not have time to talk to Blinken.
“We had a frank and direct conversation. I pressed the Kremlin to accept the substantial proposal that we put forward,” AFP quoted Blinken as telling reporters.
Blinken said the Biden administration had proposed a deal to Russia that would see Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner freed. The proposal was made weeks ago, according to US officials, who were frustrated by a lack of response from Russia. This is why they decided to make the proposal public.
As for the Russian war on Ukraine, Blinken told that “the world will never recognize annexation” of Ukraine.