US-Russia backchannel aims to reduce escalation risks, White House says

8 November 2022, 01:46 AM
Jake Sullivan (Photo:REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Jake Sullivan (Photo:REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Washington reserves the right to directly discuss issues that concern the United States at the highest level, White House Press Secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said on Nov. 7, commenting on recent reports of unofficial direct talks between senior U.S. and Russian officials

According to Jean-Pierre, the conversations in the past few months have been about “risk reduction” in relations between the United States and Russia.

The White House spokesperson stressed that the United States follows the principle of “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.” She added that Washington is trying to keep open channels of communication with Russia, “so that we still have an avenue for contact.”

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Earlier, The Wall Street Journal, citing sources, reported that U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has been holding confidential talks with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s foreign affairs aide Yuri Ushakov and Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

The Kremlin subsequently denied the talks took place.

During a visit to Kyiv on Nov 4, Jake Sullivan commented on the possibility of Washington's negotiations with Russia and stressed that the discussion of Ukraine without Ukraine is impossible, and that Russia’s current negotiating position is unacceptable.

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