Russia and US hold secret talks in Ankara – Kommersant
A leading Moscow newspaper claimed, on Monday, that secret US-Russian talks are being hosted by Türkiye. Kommersant, a privately owned title which is known to have good sources in Moscow, reported, citing anonymous sources, that the un-announced meeting was taking place in Ankara.
The outlet alleged that Russia had sent Sergey Naryshkin, director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) to the talks.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov later confirmed to Russian media that bilateral talks had taken place in Ankara, adding that they were held at the initiative of the US.
CNN claimed that CIA Director Bill Burns had represented Washington at the gathering, citing a "National Security Council spokesperson."
Earlier this month, Western media reported that top Russian and US officials were engaging in undeclared contacts. According to the Wall Street Journal, US national-security adviser Jake Sullivan has been engaged with Yury Ushakov, a senior foreign policy aide to President Vladimir Putin, and with Nikolay Patrushev, Sullivan’s counterpart in the Russian government.
The White House did not deny the talks, with spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre telling journalists that the contacts focused on “risk reduction.” Meanwhile, Peskov told the WSJ at the time that the British and American press tended to print “hoaxes.”
Türkiye emerged as a principal mediator during the Ukraine crisis. In late March, it hosted Russia-Ukraine talks, during which the two parties made significant progress towards settling on a peace agreement.
The negotiations were reportedly torpedoed by the UK, when then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kiev in April. According to Ukrainian media, he told President Vladimir Zelensky that Western nations would not support the proposed security pact that was discussed with Russia.
Ankara also helped the UN to launch the Black Sea Initiative, an arrangement that allows Ukraine to export its grain via commercial ships. The agreement, which was signed in July, expires on Friday. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it may not agree to a renewal, unless the UN delivers on its promise to facilitate Moscow’s export of Russian grain and fertilizers, which was part of the deal.