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Blinken, Lavrov to attend G20 talks in Brazil with focus on Ukraine, Gaza

by Nate Ostiller February 21, 2024 12:49 PM 2 min read
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is arriving in Brasilia, Brazil, on Feb. 20, 2024, for the upcoming meeting of G20 foreign ministers. (Ton Molina/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend a summit of foreign ministers from the Group of 20 nations (G20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, scheduled to begin on Feb. 21.

Blinken and Lavrov previously met in person at the G20 summit in India in March 2023.

The full-scale war in Ukraine and ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza are expected to be chief on the agenda at the upcoming summit.

A second G20 summit of heads of state is also scheduled to be held in Brazil in November 2024.

There has been considerable discussion about the prospect of Russian President Vladimir Putin traveling to Brazil in light of the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2023 to issue a warrant for his arrest in relation to the deportation of Ukrainian children.

Brazil is a party to the ICC's Rome Statute and is therefore obliged to detain Putin, but Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in September 2023 that he would leave the decision up to the judiciary.

It is unclear if Putin plans to attend.

According to Reuters and other media outlets, there are no plans for Blinken and Lavrov to hold official talks, but an informal discussion may still be possible.

The U.S. State Department's press release about Blinken's travel plans does not mention a potential meeting with Lavrov.

The previous G20 summit in September 2023 concluded without a unanimous condemnation of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine. Several G20 countries, including India and Brazil, maintain close ties with Russia and are hesitant to explicitly take sides in the conflict.

This year's meeting comes at a crucial time for Ukraine as U.S. aid has been stalled in Congress for months, and Russia has increasingly gained the initiative on the battlefield, illustrated by Russia's capture of the critical front-line city of Avdiivka on Feb. 17.

Ukraine war latest: Kyiv asks UN, Red Cross to investigate execution of Ukrainian POWs in Avdiivka
Key developments on Feb. 20: * Ombudsman asks UN, Red Cross to investigate execution of Ukrainian POWs in Avdiivka * Sweden unveils its largest defense aid package for Ukraine worth $682 million * Death toll of Russian attack on Sumy Oblast rises to 5 * German media: Germany plans to send long-…
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