Blinken says he had ’frank’ discussion with Russian foreign minister in first call since Ukraine war began,

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday for the first time since Moscow launched its war in Ukraine in late February.

In what the top US diplomat described as ”a frank and direct conversation,” Blinken said he ”pressed the Kremlin to accept the substantial proposal that we put forth on the release of Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner.”
That proposal, which has been on the table since June, includes an offer to swap convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, CNN reported earlier this week. Läs artikel
Speaking at a press conference at the State Department, Blinken declined to say whether he thought Russians were more or less likely move on the proposal following the conversation, nor would he describe how Lavrov responded.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday that Lavrov ”strongly suggested” to Blinken that the United States should return to a mode of ”quiet diplomacy” regarding a possible prisoner exchange ”without speculative information stuffing.”