U.S.-Russian Intelligence Chiefs Discuss Ukraine


Earlier today the Russian news outlet Kommersant reported on U.S.-Russian negotiations in Turkey (machine translation):

As it became known to “Kommersant”, today, November 14, negotiations between the Russian and American delegations are taking place in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin flew to Ankara from the Russian side.This meeting has not been publicly announced before. The source has so far declined to provide details of the talks.

Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said that he could neither confirm nor deny the information about the talks in Ankara.

The last time the Russian and American delegations met in Geneva was on January 10 for talks on security guarantees. The lack of practical results of the January negotiation process is often seen as a diplomatic prerequisite for the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine.

The U.S. counterpart of Sergei Naryshkin is CIA director Bill Burns.

The negotiations have long been requested by Russia:

In the last month, the volley of calls for negotiation from Putin has intensified. On September 30, Putin called on Kiev “to return back to the negotiating table.” On October 11, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said  Russia “was willing to engage with the United States or with Turkey on ways to end the war.” Two days later, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow is “open to negotiations to achieve our objectives.” On October 26, Putin sent a message to Zelensky through President Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau, saying that “He wishes and thinks that a direct dialogue should happen between your two countries.” On October 30, Lavrov said that Russia is “ready to listen to our Western colleagues if they make another request to organize a conversation” as long as Russia’s security needs were considered. And on November 1, Putin said that “necessary conditions” could arise that would be a catalyst to talks.

On the U.S. side only one voice had recently publicly urged to start negotiations:

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to US officials, Milley “has made the case in internal meetings that the Ukrainians have achieved about as much as they could reasonably expect on the battlefield before winter sets in and so they should try to cement their gains at the bargaining table.”

The top US general has made no secret of his stance. “When there’s an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it,” Milley declared in a public speech this week.

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