Washington reveals details of high-profile US-Russia talks
The recent unannounced meeting of top Russian and US spies in Ankara was meant to maintain dialogue between two powers, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told US media on Tuesday.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Kirby was asked to comment on the talks in Türkiye’s capital, which involved Sergey Naryshkin, director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and CIA Director Bill Burns.
“This was really about keeping the channels of communication with Russia open on issues that affect both our security’s futures,” the official said, adding that Burns’ sit-down with Naryshkin was “all about routine channels of communication” that Washington has with Moscow at various levels.
Kirby noted that in recent weeks US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke with their respective Russian counterparts. By doing so, the US is “making sure that… there won’t be any miscalculations,” the official said.
At the same time, Kirby didn’t say whether the parties discussed US citizens that are currently in Russian custody, noting that he was not present at the meeting. “The main purpose was to talk about issues around strategic stability,” he said.
Previously, the White House said that the Ankara talks didn’t have anything to do with the Ukraine conflict and revolved around nuclear weapons and US citizens that had been detained in Russia. Meanwhile, Moscow confirmed that the talks had indeed taken place, but refused to provide any more details.
Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan held behind-the-scenes negotiations with top Russian officials to decrease the chances of a broader conflict over Ukraine. At the time, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said Russia had nothing to say about the report, adding that “Anglo-Saxon newspapers release a lot of hoax stories.”