US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan reportedly tried to avoid risk of escalation over Ukraine
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has had behind-the-scenes contacts with senior Russian officials in an effort to reduce the risks of a broader conflict over Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing his sources.
According to US and allied officials interviewed by the newspaper, Sullivan has been in contact with Yuri Ushakov, a foreign policy adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and with Nikolay Patrushev, who heads Russia’s Security Council. The purpose of the talks was “to guard against the risk of escalation and keep communication channels open” rather than discussing a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian conflict, officials told the Wall Street Journal.
WSJ sources declined to provide details on when the negotiations took place or whether they were productive.
US officials said Sullivan insisted on keeping an open line of communication with Russia, unlike other senior White House officials, who believe engagement with Moscow will not be fruitful at this stage.
WSJ sources say Sullivan has not only played a leading role in coordinating Washington’s policies on the Ukraine conflict, but has also been involved in diplomatic efforts, traveling to Kyiv last week to meet with the president. Ukrainian Vladimir Zelensky.
During the talks, the US national security adviser urged Ukrainian leaders to publicly signal that they are ready to resolve the conflict, a US official told the outlet. According to the WSJ and previous media reports, Washington is not insisting that kyiv return to the negotiating table, but wants it to show the world that it is trying to end hostilities.
In late September, Sullivan said the United States had warned “very high levels” of the Russian leadership that Moscow would face “catastrophic consequences” should it use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
His comments came after Putin vowed that Russia would use “all means available” to defend its people and its territory, a statement that Washington and its NATO allies interpreted as a veiled threat to deploy nuclear weapons. However, several senior Russian officials have insisted that Moscow is not threatening anyone with its nuclear arsenal.
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