Antony Blinken expected in Europe to talk about support for Ukraine
The head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, took off on Monday for Europe, where he should discuss his country’s support for Ukraine, and could meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, without meeting him.
The American Secretary of State is initially expected in Brussels for the meeting of the heads of diplomacy of NATO member states. He will discuss American support for Ukraine for the coming months, at a time when kyiv is engaged in a counter-offensive and the world’s attention is turned to the Middle East.
He is then scheduled to attend a meeting in North Macedonia of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Wednesday, according to James O’Brien, the top US diplomat for Europe. “We expect him to participate in a discussion with our OSCE colleagues on support for Ukraine”James O’Brien told the press.
According to the diplomat, the Secretary of State’s agenda is, however, subject to change. He also did not wish to comment on the possibility of a meeting in North Macedonia with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
On Monday, Mr. Lavrov announced that North Macedonia had authorized him to take part in the annual meeting of the OSCE, an organization of which Russia is a member. Despite the sanctions against Russia from the European Union, Bulgaria granted him flight over its airspace so that he could go to the meeting in Skopje, according to a press release from Bulgarian diplomacy .
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, however, dismissed the hypothesis of a Lavrov-Blinken meeting. ” No, [les Américains] have not asked, they will not ask, and there will be no meeting”he told official Russian agencies.
The United States has refused most high-level contacts with Russia since the invasion of Ukraine, but Antony Blinken met Sergei Lavrov in March, on the sidelines of the G20 in India.