Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Joe Biden will hold talks soon, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed on Thursday, in what would be the first discussions between the two since meeting in June.
Blinken was speaking after a discussion with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Stockholm, on the sidelines of an OSCE ministerial meeting. The talks, which are the highest-profile negotiations since Putin and Biden met in Geneva earlier this year, ended after just 40 minutes, indicating that little progress had been made.
"We had a very direct, very candid, non-polemical exchange of views," Blinken said, following the discussion. "It was serious; it was sober. I believe that the foreign minister will take the conversation back to President Putin."
"I'm going to do the same, of course, with President Biden. And I think it's likely the presidents will speak directly in the near future," he continued.
The Russian side also put out a statement, calling the meeting a "substantive exchange of opinions on the broad international agenda."
The high-level meeting comes as tensions between Russia and the US remain high. Although the two presidents had a productive discussion in June, hopes for improvements in Russian-American relations appear to have been unfounded. In recent weeks, rhetoric has worsened as NATO has repeatedly criticized Moscow for an apparent buildup of troops near the Ukrainian border. Some Western media outlets have claimed Russia will imminently invade.
According to Lavrov, US and NATO involvement in Ukraine will have "the most serious consequences," noting that Moscow wants to see "long-term security guarantees" on its Western borders.