Kremlin, White House tight-lipped over reports of ‘secret talks’

The Kremlin declined to comment on recent reports in Western media that senior US security officials had held numerous secret phone calls with senior Russian officials.

“I have nothing to say about this publication,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on November 7.

A day earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported that US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had held a series of closed-door meetings with his Russian counterpart over the past few months.

The closed-door talks were held with the aim of reducing the risk of a nuclear conflict amid steadily escalating rhetoric by both Moscow and Washington, the report said.

The White House also declined to comment on the report, but a spokeswoman for the U.S. National Security Council said only that “people are arguing a lot.”

Washington’s official position on the issue is that any talks aimed at ending the conflict should be held directly between Kyiv and Moscow.

On November 4, Sullivan visited Kyiv, where he said Washington’s support for Ukraine’s war effort remained “unwavering, unwavering” after the midterm elections in the United States.

His comments reflected widespread speculation that a Republican victory in the Nov. 8 poll could result in a significant cut in U.S. financial and military aid to Ukraine.

“We’re going to get the resources if needed and get votes from both sides of the aisle to make it happen,” Sullivan said at a press conference in Kyiv.

In recent weeks, rhetoric has steadily escalated between the Western allies in Moscow and Kyiv.

Last week, Russia’s foreign ministry warned that the world’s five declared nuclear powers, including the United States and Russia, were “on the brink of direct armed conflict.”

The ministry also called on Western countries to refrain from “facilitating provocations with weapons of mass destruction that could lead to catastrophic consequences”.

Jake Sullivan
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks in Washington, March 22, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“Diplomacy Window”

At a press conference on Nov. 7, Mr. Peskov responded to recent reports in the Washington Post, which claimed that U.S. officials were unofficially urging Kyiv to show its willingness to meet with Moscow. declined to comment.

A Kremlin spokesman said: “I don’t know if that’s true.

The newspaper reported on Nov. 5 that Washington is quietly asking Ukrainian leaders to drop their refusal to negotiate peace with Moscow as long as Russian President Vladimir Putin remains in power. rice field.

The U.S. National Security Council likewise declined to comment when asked about the report’s accuracy.

When asked the same question, a spokesperson for the US State Department said, “If Russia is ready to negotiate, it should stop its bombs and missiles and withdraw its troops from Ukraine.”

“The Kremlin has shown its unwillingness to get seriously involved in negotiations even before it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” the spokesperson added on February 24.

Zelensky said on 4 November:

Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, expressed skepticism about the claims made in the Washington Post report.

“Again, there are some reports that are true, but mostly reports that are pure speculation,” he said.

Russia remains open to negotiations, but cannot currently negotiate with Kyiv because Kiev refuses to open talks with Moscow, he added.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Adam Morrow