The Biden administration won’t commit to peace talks to end the war in Ukraine, but their top national security official is secretly chatting with Russia to manage the nuclear risks of continued escalation of the conflict, according to a report.
The Wall Street Journal reports that national security adviser Jake Sullivan is keeping lines open with top aides to Vladimir Putin.
Biden’s secret nuke talks with Russia
For months, Sullivan has been talking with Yuri Ushakov, a foreign-policy adviser to Putin, and his direct counterpart in the Russian government, Nikolai Patrushev.
The National Security Council dismissed the report, saying, “People claim a lot of things.”
The last communication the White House acknowledged taking place between Sullivan and Russia was in March, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, when he spoke with Patrushev.
Sullivan is not pursuing diplomacy to end the war, the report said, but is keeping Moscow on the line to limit the threat of escalation.
The report noted that Sullivan is known within the administration as one of the few top officials who is interested in dialogue with Russia.
Are U.S. and Russia at war?
The administration has pledged to keep supporting Ukraine for “as long as it takes,” despite the risks of escalation. Those risks became very real when Biden warned in October that the danger of “nuclear Armageddon” was at its highest since the Cuban missile crisis.
Echoing Biden, Sullivan in September warned that Russia would face “catastrophic consequences” if they used a nuclear device.
Sullivan traveled to Ukraine Friday where he affirmed America’s “unwavering” support.
The secret talks between Sullivan and the Kremlin seem to contradict the administration’s insistence that the U.S. is not at war with or seeking to overthrow Putin and his regime.
In everything but name, perhaps: the U.S. has provided weapons, training, and intelligence to aid Ukraine, and now, is apparently working the phones to prevent Dr. Strangelove from becoming a reality. How comforting.