U.S. envoy says no plans to meet Russians at United Nations

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks at the U.N. media stakeout prior to the United Nations Security Council meeting, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the United Nations Headquarters

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -The United States has no plans "at this time" to meet with Russian diplomats next week during the annual United Nations gathering of world leaders, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Friday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is due to travel to New York for the high-level U.N. General Assembly meeting. U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are also attending the U.N. gathering.

"We will be having meetings with the Ukrainians. There are no plans at this time to have meetings with the Russians. They have not indicated that they have an interest in diplomacy," Thomas-Greenfield told reporters.

Russia's February invasion of Ukraine has triggered the most serious crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when many people feared the world was on the brink of nuclear war.

U.S. President Joe Biden has said he wants Ukraine to defeat Russia and has supplied billions of dollars of arms to Kyiv but U.S. officials do not want a direct confrontation between U.S. and Russian soldiers.

The U.S. president is traditionally the second leader to address the General Assembly, but Biden will this year speak on Wednesday, instead of Tuesday, Thomas-Greenfield said. Biden's appearance has been delayed because he is traveling to London for Queen Elizabeth's funeral on Monday.

Blinken will also now co-chair - with the European Union, the African Union and Spain - a food security summit next week on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly that Biden had been due to host.

When asked if there would be any meetings next week on attempts to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, Thomas-Greenfield said: "At the moment, as far as I know, no meetings are planned."

Talks about reinstating the 2015 deal have been ongoing in Vienna but U.S. officials have acknowledged an agreement in the near future is unlikely.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Andrea Ricci)