Sullivan Held Undisclosed Talks with Russian President Aides

In a bid to avert the risk of an escalation over Ukraine and decrease the chances of a broader conflict, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has reportedly been engaged in behind-the-scenes contacts with senior Russian officials.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s report, Sullivan has been warning Moscow against using nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, noting that rather than to discuss a peace settlement for the Ukraine conflict, the aim of Sullivan’s talks has been to keep communications channels open and guard against the risk of escalation.

That’s contrary to the efforts of other senior White House officials, who feel that, at this stage, engagement with Moscow will not be fruitful.

Though refusing to provide details on when the negotiations took place or whether they were productive, the WSJ’s sources said Sullivan has been in touch with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov, and with the head of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev.

On top of taking a leading role in coordinating the US policies over the Ukraine conflict, according to US and allied officials interviewed by the newspaper, Sullivan has allegedly also been involved in diplomatic efforts, meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky while visiting Kyiv last week.

While Washington is not insisting that the Ukrainian leadership returns to the negotiating table, the US national security advisor urged Kyiv to publicly signal that they are ready to bring the hostilities to an end and resolve the conflict.

After Moscow vowed that Russia would use all means available to defend its people and territory, Sullivan stressed in late September that Washington and its NATO allies interpreted that statement as a veiled threat to deploy nuclear weapons.

He warned that, should it resort to nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Moscow would face catastrophic consequences although several Russian senior officials have insisted that Moscow is not threatening anyone with its nuclear arsenal.

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