Biden aide spoke with Russian officials amid nuclear tensions
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan held undisclosed talks with top Russian officials in hopes of reducing the risk of the war in Ukraine spilling over or escalating into a nuclear conflict, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
The newspaper cited US and allied officials as saying that Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s top national security aide, had held confidential conversations in recent months with Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, a colleague of Sullivan’s, that have not been made public.
The White House declined to comment on the report, responding to questions about the story only with a statement attributed to National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson: “People are saying a lot of things.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that officials did not specify the dates or number of calls.
Several high-level contacts between US and Russian officials have been made public in recent months as Washington has insisted that any talks on ending the war in Ukraine take place between Moscow and Kiev.
The reported talks came as the West has accused Moscow of ramping up its nuclear rhetoric and recently repeatedly accused Kiev of planning to use a radioactive “dirty bomb” without providing evidence.
Kiev has denied having such a plan, and the United States and other Western countries have said Russia could stage such an attack on its own and use it as an excuse to escalate the conflict.
Russia in turn accused the West of “encouraging provocations”.
Sullivan traveled to Kiev on Friday and pledged Washington’s “unwavering and unwavering” support for Ukraine.
(Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
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