US Secretary of State Blinken says he'll speak with Russian FM Lavrov about Griner, Whelan

Russia's Tass news agency responded that it has not been formally approached by Washington about a call between Blinken and Lavrov.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on May 25, 2021. (photo credit: FLASH90)
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on May 25, 2021.
(photo credit: FLASH90)

 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday he will speak with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in a phone call in the coming days and press him to respond to an offer Washington has made to secure the release of American citizens detained by Moscow.

A US offer to Russia to gain the release of two Americans detained by Moscow, Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, was made weeks ago and the White House is hoping Russia will react favorably, the White House said on Wednesday.

Joshua Geltzer, a senior National Security Council official, has been in touch with the families of Griner and Whelan to brief them ahead of comments from Secretary of State Antony Blinken about attempts to gain their release, said John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Carlos Faria in Moscow, Russia July 4, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool)Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Carlos Faria in Moscow, Russia July 4, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool)

Russia says it has received no US approach for a call from Blinken

Russia has not been approached formally by Washington about a phone call between Blinken and Lavrov, Tass news agency said on Wednesday.

"We are guided by normal diplomatic practice, not doing things by megaphone," it quoted a foreign ministry spokesperson as saying.