National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has participated in talks with senior Kremlin officials over the past few months aimed at reducing the risk of Russo-Ukrainian War spill over into a larger conflict, according to a the wall street journal report.
Sullivan engaged in confidential conversations with Yuri Ushakov, a senior adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, U.S. and allied officials told the the wall street journal. The report said the talks were aimed at “guarding against the risk of escalation and keeping communication channels open,” not discussing a potential settlement to end the Ukrainian conflict. It is not known how many contacts there have been and when they took place.
The White House declined to comment on the report. “People claim a lot of things,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in response to questions about the story.
The the wall street journal bomb follows soon after a Washington Post report that the White House is privately encouraging Ukraine to express its openness to negotiating with Moscow as part of a calculated effort to maintain support from other countries. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last month signed a decree banning peace talks with Russia as long as Putin stays in power. Zelenskyy’s position has raised concerns “in parts of Europe, Africa and Latin America, where the disruptive effects of war on the availability and cost of food and fuel are harder to feel”, according to the Washington Post. “Ukraine fatigue is a reality for some of our partners,” a US official told Reuters. Job on condition of anonymity.
Both reports come on the eve of the major midterm elections in the United States. The polls showed a surge in Republican opposition to Ukraine aid, potentially complicating the Biden administration’s efforts to continue supplying Kyiv with historically unprecedented volumes of security assistance if the GOP shows a strong showing on Nov. 8.
The Kremlin declined to comment the wall street journal report. “We have nothing to say about this report. Many ‘fakes’ are published by Anglo-Saxon newspapers. Therefore, in this case, you must contact either the newspaper or the White House”, reported the door -spokesman of the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov. saying. Peskov also declined to comment on the Washington Post report that the White House has encouraged Ukraine to signal its openness to talks with Russia. “Well, we don’t know if that’s the case or not,” he said, according to Reuters.
Mark Episkopos is a national security reporter for the National interest.