US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has held confidential talks with senior advisers in Russia in recent months in an attempt to de-escalate the conflict and reduce the nuclear threat. as reported by The Wall Street Journal citing US and allied sources.
According to the US media, Sullivan has been in contact with Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, as well as with his counterpart in Moscow, Nikolai Patrushev. The objective was not to discuss a solution to the conflict, but to keep communication channels open and reduce the risk of escalation, the same sources point out.
Neither party has confirmed the information and Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov has pointed out that “Anglo-Saxon newspapers have been publishing many lies.” The information does not detail the dates of these contacts, the number of meetings or their results.
The sources quoted by The Wall Street Journal point out that Sullivan is known in the government for betting on a line of communication with Russia, while other advisers believe that these contacts will not bear any fruit in the current situation.
On the other hand, the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, spoke last month with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, when Moscow accused Ukraine of preparing an attack with a “dirty bomb”. Austin made the call, the first at this level since May. Shoigu then made a second call. Last week, the IAEA declared that it had found no evidence of “undeclared nuclear activities” in Ukraine after inspecting the three points identified by Russia.
The Washington Post published other information over the weekend claiming that the Biden administration is privately encouraging Ukrainian leaders to publicly show an openness to negotiating with Russia and withdraw their refusal to engage in talks while Putin is in power, they point out citing sources familiar with these contacts.
The US request is not intended to pressure Ukraine to come to the negotiating table, but rather is a maneuver to try to get the government in kyiv to maintain the support of other countries facing a constituency concerned that their rulers are fueling a war that could last for years, says The Washington Post.