US and Russian Foreign Ministers to Meet in Iceland to Ease Friction

Top diplomats from the United States and Russia have scheduled a meeting Wednesday night in Iceland for their first face-to-face encounter after months of deteriorating relations between the two countries.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov plan to talk on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting, a gathering of eight foreign ministers in Reykjavik.

The two diplomats will be attempting to ease the friction between the two countries and prepare for an upcoming summit between President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin next month.

The two countries are at odds with myriad issues which includes Ukraine, the Arctic, Russia’s treatment of opposition figure Alexey Navalny, and allegations of Russia’s involvement in the Russia-based hacker group DarkSide and the latest US pipeline ransomware attack compromising the US oil supply chain.

“Our attitude toward the U.S. includes the hope that normalized relations will be based on specific actions rather than words of which we have heard too many,” said Lavrov at a news conference on Monday.

“It would be our preference to have a more stable and more predictable relationship with Russia. At the same time, we’ve been very clear that if Russia chooses to take reckless or aggressive actions that target our interests or those of our allies and partners, we’ll respond,” replied Blinken on Tuesday.

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