Senior Biden staffer involved in ‘confidential conversations’ with top Putin aides

President Joe Biden’s national security adviser is said to be involved in “confidential talks” with top Putin associates in an effort to prevent nuclear war.

United States officials told the Wall Street Journal how Jake Sullivan met on Sunday with Yuri Ushakov, a foreign policy adviser to Putin, and his direct counterpart, Nikolai Potrushev, to warn of escalating the war in Ukraine — though they won’t discuss a possible solution to the conflict.

Several officials who spoke to the Journal about Sullivan’s talks with Russian officials have said he is known within the White House for pushing a line of communication with Russia, even when others thought it would be fruitless.

The White House has previously said that maintaining some level of contact with Moscow is necessary for achieving mutual national security interests, especially after Putin warned against the use of nuclear weapons.

At the same time, however, US officials would also pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to lift his ban on talks with Putin and negotiate an end to the fighting.

Senior Biden staffer involved in confidential conversations with top Putin

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has urged to keep lines open with Russian officials during the ongoing war in Ukraine. He is pictured here in Ukraine on Friday

US officials have described how Sullivan met in recent months with Yuri Ushakov, a foreign policy adviser to Putin, and his direct counterpart, Nikolai Potrushev, to warn of the risk of escalating the war in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had warned in September that the country might use nuclear weapons

Biden had originally tried to forge a relationship with Putin when he first took office and met him at a summit in Geneva in June 2021.

But in October, US intelligence indicated that Russian forces were preparing to invade Ukraine.

The US president then spoke with Putin in December 2021 and again in February 2022 to avert a Russian attack — but his efforts failed when Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Since then, officials say, Sullivan has played a leading role in coordinating the Biden government’s policies and plans in response to the war and has been involved in diplomatic efforts.

In fact, when Putin hinted in September that Russia might resort to nuclear weapons, Sullivan said the Biden administration had “communicated directly, privately at a very high level, to the Kremlin that any use of nuclear weapons will have catastrophic consequences for Russia.” .

He did not specify at the time how the Biden administration has spoken with Russian officials.

And in a March conversation with Patrushev, Sullivan is saddened to have told the Russian official that Moscow troops must stop attacking cities and towns in Ukraine, and warned the Kremlin not to use chemical or biological weapons.

Russian officials issued a statement in response, saying Patrushev emphasized “the need to end Washington’s support of neo-Nazis and terrorists in Ukraine, and facilitate the transfer of foreign mercenaries into the conflict zone, as well as refusing to proceed.” supplying arms to Kiev. regime.’

President Joe Biden had tried to forge a relationship with Putin when he took office

Rescuers respond to Russian missile strike that destroyed a commercial enterprise on Sunday

Worshipers pray and light candles at St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate, on Sunday amid ongoing war

But Sullivan is not alone in the Biden administration trying to get through to Russian officials as relations between the two countries deteriorate.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and several of his colleagues spoke with Russian Defense Secretary Sergei Shoigu this month when Moscow claimed Kiev was preparing a so-called dirty bomb for us in the ongoing war.

At that meeting, officials emphasized that Austin at the time emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication.

Now Washington DC and Moscow seem to be making at least some progress on arms control deals.

The two sides adhere to the New START treaty, which curbs US and Russian long-range weapons, according to the Wall Street Journal, and plan to hold bilateral advisory committee meetings to discuss its implementation.

The aim is to resume inspections of nuclear weapons that were suspended during the pandemic.

The United States would also privately encourage Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to lift his ban on talks with Putin and negotiate an end to the fighting.

Meanwhile, the United States would privately encourage Zelensky to lift his ban on talks with Putin and negotiate an end to the fighting.

US officials have said the Biden administration’s request is not to push Ukraine to the negotiating table, but to ensure Kiev retains the support of its international backers.

Those familiar with the discussions are wary that Zelensky’s ban on talks with the Russian president has raised concerns in parts of Europe, Africa and Latin America, where the effects of the war are being felt most.

Several countries are concerned about fueling a war that for many years has taken its toll on the global economy, having devastating effects on the cost and availability of food and fuel.

‘Ukraine fatigue is a real thing for some of our partners,’ a US official said The Washington Post.