Washington, May 20 (MNN) The US has expressed deep concerns over Russia’s continued military deployments in and near Ukraine, its actions against Voice Of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and opposition leader Aleksey Navalny’s health and the repression of opposition organisations in Russia.
The US has also demanded that Russia release American citizens Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed so they can return home to their families.
This was conveyed during a meeting US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken had with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday (local time) on the margins of the Arctic Council Ministerial, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.
The Secretary noted that the US sought a more stable and predictable relationship with Moscow.
To that end, both leaders discussed Russia’s Arctic Council Chairmanship and the importance of cooperation in view of shared stake in the region.
The Secretary reiterated US President Joe Biden’s resolve to protect US citizens and act firmly in defence of US interests in response to actions by Russia that harm the country or its allies, Price added.
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.
Both leader discussed the areas in which the peoples of the two countries could benefit from sustained and enhanced cooperation, including Afghanistan, strategic stability, and curbing Iran and the DPRK’s nuclear programmes.