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Washington (AFP) – Top U.S. diplomat John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov spoke Thursday to discuss the crises in the Middle East and Ukraine, officials said.

“Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov spoke by phone today. They discussed the situation in the Middle East and Ukraine,” according to a senior State Department official.

The two diplomats have a good relationship, despite sometimes frosty relations between their governments on several issues, including Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Lavrov said a new U.S. sanctions law against Russia could undermine relations between Moscow and Washington for a long time.

The United States voted this week against a bid by Palestinians to win backing for a UN resolution on a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement, a move Russia supported.

Kerry and Lavrov last met face-to-face on December 14 on in Italy, where they spoke for more than three hours on a number of issues, discussing the situation in Ukraine and Syria.

AFP Photo/Alexander Nemenov

Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

Three states that narrowly swung from Barack Obama in 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016 seem likely to swing back in 2020. Polling currently gives a consistent and solid lead to Democrat Joe Biden in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Should Biden carry all three of these swing states and keep all of the states Hillary Clinton won in 2016, he will win an Electoral College majority and the presidency.

According to RealClear Politics' polling average, Biden currently enjoys a 4-point lead in Pennsylvania, a 6.4-point lead in Michigan, and a 6.7-point lead in Wisconsin.

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