The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the margins of the Arctic Council Ministerial. The Secretary noted that the United States sought a more stable and predictable relationship with Moscow. To that end, Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Lavrov discussed Russia’s Arctic Council Chairmanship and the importance of cooperation given our shared stake in the region. The Secretary also reiterated President Biden’s resolve to protect U.S. citizens and act firmly in defense of U.S. interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies. The Secretary made clear that Russia should release American citizens Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed so they can return home to their families.
Secretary Blinken raised our deep concerns regarding Russia’s continued military deployments in and near Ukraine, its actions against VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the health of Aleksey Navalny and the repression of opposition organizations, among other issues.
The Secretary underscored the imperative of ensuring humanitarian access for the people of Syria, while they also discussed regional issues, including finding a long-term political solution to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. They also discussed areas in which both of our peoples could benefit from sustained and enhanced cooperation, including Afghanistan, strategic stability, and curbing Iran and the DPRK’s nuclear programs. The Secretary and the Foreign Minister committed to continued discussions going forward.