The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Stockholm on the margins of the OSCE Ministerial. Secretary Blinken addressed Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine, including its military movements near Ukraine’s borders. The Secretary reiterated the United States’ call for Russia to pull back its forces and return to a peacetime posture and to adhere to the Minsk agreements and a ceasefire in the Donbas. He underscored that the best path forward is diplomacy in conjunction with the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, a process the United States is willing and ready to support. Should Moscow choose the path of military escalation, the Secretary made clear that the United States and our allies are prepared to impose significant costs. The Secretary and the Foreign Minister noted the importance of continued coordination on issues in the bilateral relationship and where interests are aligned, including when it comes to blocking Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon. The two also discussed the Caucasus, and the Secretary welcomed the resumption of direct dialogue between the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Secretary also raised the unjust detentions of Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed and underscored the priority we attach to their prompt release.