According to a White House spokesperson, US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns will warn Vladimir Putin’s spy chief on Monday about the repercussions of using nuclear weapons and will bring up the matter of US prisoners in Russian jails.
Burns was in Ankara on Monday to meet Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia’s SVR spy agency, in the first known high-level face-to-face interaction between the US and Russia since Putin’s February 24 encroachment of Ukraine.
“He is not conducting negotiations of any kind. He is not discussing settlement of the war in Ukraine,” According to a White House official spokesman who spoke on terms of anonymity.
“He is conveying a message on the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons by Russia, and the risks of escalation to strategic stability,” the representative claimed. “He will also raise the cases of unjustly detained US citizens.”
According to the representative, Burns, a former US envoy to Russia who was sent to Moscow by US President Joe Biden in late 2021 to warn Putin about the military escalation around Ukraine, is not describing a possible future settlement to the conflict in Ukraine.
“We briefed Ukraine in advance on his trip. We firmly stick to our fundamental principle: nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.”
Putin has consistently claimed that if Russia is threatened, it will protect its region with all possible means, including nuclear weapons. Putin claims that the West has used nuclear threats and intimidation against Russia.
The remarks sparked special concern in the West following Moscow’s announcement in September that it had appended four Ukrainian regions under its control.
The contact between the US and Russia in Turkey was first revealed by Russia’s Kommersant newspaper. When asked about the Kommersant report, the Kremlin said it couldn’t confirm or deny it. The SVR did not reply to a comment urge.
Aside from the war, Russia and the US have several outstanding issues to discuss, including the outgrowth of key nuclear arms, a decrease treaty, and a Black Sea grain deal, as well as a possible US-Russian prisoner exchange and the Syrian civil war.
When questioned about the US-Russian interaction in Turkey during a meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) largest economies in Indonesia, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated the UN did not participate.
“It’s very positive that the US and Russia are having talks because that is an extremely relevant development in relation to the future, but we are not involved,” Guterres remarked.
Biden expressed hope earlier this month that Putin would be willing to actually consider a prisoner exchange to ensure implementation of US basketball star Brittney Griner, who was convicted to nine years in a Russian penal colony on drug charges.
Former US Marine Paul Whelan, who retains American, British, Canadian, and Irish passports, was indicted to 16 years in a Russian prison for snooping in 2020. He rejected the accusation.
Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer imprisoned in the United States, has been considered a possible replacement for Griner and Whelan in any future prisoner swap.