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Blinken urges Lavrov to reverse Moscow's "irresponsible decision" and return to new START
New Delhi: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday urged his Russian counterpart Lavrov to reverse Moscow's "irresponsible decision" and return to implementing the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treat) nuclear arms reduction treaty.
"I spoke briefly with Russian FM Lavrov today," said Blinken as he confirmed that he met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday on the sidelines of G20 in New Delhi. "I urged Russia to reverse its irresponsible decision and return to implementing the New START, which places verifiable limits on the nuclear arsenals of the United States and the Russian Federation. Mutual compliance is in the interest of both our countries. It's also what people around the world expect from us as nuclear powers," Blinken added.
"I told the foreign minister that no matter what else is happening in the world or in our relationship, the United States will always be ready to engage and act on strategic arms control, just as the United States and the Soviet Union did even at the height of the Cold War," he added.
The meeting was the first face-to-face meeting between the two foreign ministers since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began over a year ago and which triggered a rift between US-led Western countries and Russia.
He said that every country continues to bear the cost of Russia's aggression.
"Every country continues to bear the cost of Russia's aggression; A war that President Putin can end tomorrow if he chose to do so. We worked hard to prevent it," said Blinken in New Delhi.
Blinken also reaffirmed Washington's support for Ukraine's peace proposal that maintains the country's territorial integrity.
He also lauded Indian prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying "PM Modi is right that there are challenges to the multilateral system. And those challenges in many ways are coming directly from Russia which is violating the principles that lie at the heart of that system."
"I told the foreign minister (Lavrov) what I and so many others said last week at the United Nations and what so many G20 foreign ministers said today: End this war of aggression, engage in meaningful diplomacy that can produce a just and durable peace," Blinken said in Delhi.
"The US stands ready to support Ukraine through diplomacy to end the war on this basis President Putin however has demonstrated zero interest in engaging saying that there is nothing to talk about," Blinken said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is suspending participation in New START -- the only remaining major nuclear arms control treaty with the US -- and sought to blame the West for the Ukraine conflict.
Notably, the START caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the US and Russia can deploy.
The TREATY was signed by former US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in 2010.
It came into force in February 2011 and was extended in 2021 for five more years after US President Joe Biden took office.
Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the West is trying to divide the geopolitical picture into individual episodes.
"The West is trying to divide the geopolitical picture into individual episodes but India, addressed by PM Modi, gave the assessment of the situation across the globe in general terms and I completely share it," Lavrov said after holding a brief meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Lavrov said that Russia has tried to resolve the issues on many occasions, and Russia has publicly stated that it has never refused to listen to suggestions to find political resolutions.(ANI)