U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden won’t waver in responding to aggression from Moscow in the United States or elsewhere.
"Secretary Blinken reiterated President Biden’s resolve to protect U.S. citizens and act firmly in defense of U.S. interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies," U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said, adding that Blinken made the point in a telephone call with Lavrov on May 12.
The call comes amid ongoing tensions between Washington and Moscow over a number of issues, including Russia’s troop buildup in and around Ukraine, allegations of Russian meddling in U.S. elections and the recent cyberattack blamed on a Russia-linked criminal network on a key U.S. oil pipeline.
Blinken and Lavrov are set to meet in person for the first time next week on the sidelines of the Arctic summit in Reykjavik.
The two will discuss "key issues of mutual relations and the international agenda" during their meeting, planned for May 20, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on May 12.
The U.S. State Department also confirmed the date.
Whether the two will discuss a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden is unclear.
Biden had suggested the two meet in a third country, but Putin has so far not responded publicly.
The meeting marks the end of Iceland's two-year chairmanship of the Arctic cooperation forum, which then passes on to Russia for the next two years.
Alongside Russia and the United States, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Norway, and Sweden are also members of the council.