The US State Department confirmed this Thursday (07.28.2022) that a formal request for a call from the Russian Foreign Ministry between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov was not received. Lavrov.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement: “We have made it clear to Russia that we would like a dialogue between Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Lavrov.
One of the main issues on the call, Price said, was to discuss with Lavrov a “substantial proposal” to free WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan, who were indicted by a Russian judge.
The American player pleaded guilty in a Moscow court in early July to drug charges for which she faces up to ten years in prison.
For his part, former US Marine Paul Whelan has been charged with espionage and the Russian judiciary has previously rejected extradition requests submitted by his defense.
As such, the US “continues to hope to have an opportunity to talk in the coming days,” Price stressed, adding that the call will discuss an agreement signed in Turkey between Kyiv and Moscow to export grain.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zaharova said Lavrov would respond to the call request “as soon as his schedule allows.”
“Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will listen to this request when time allows. Now, his international relations agenda is full of real business: the meeting of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers in Tashkent and bilateral meetings,” Zajarova emphasized, TASS news agency reported.
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