U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has officially confirmed that Washington has been in contact with Russia regarding the ongoing invasion of Ukraine and threats of using nuclear weapons.
Speaking in New York on Monday, Nov. 7, Sullivan said that maintaining contact with Moscow was “in the interests of every country who is affected by this conflict”, adding that Washington was “clear-eyed about who we are dealing with”.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Sullivan has held confidential discussions with Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev for several months, mainly focusing on the risk of nuclear escalation in Ukraine.
The senior officials who spoke to The Wall Street Journal said that Sullivan and his team had not engaged in discussions about how to end the conflict, with reports previously claiming that the United States would be urging Ukraine and Russia to enter negotiations.
Sullivan said that the Biden administration had “an obligation to pursue accountability” to “hold the perpetrators of grave and grotesque war crimes in Ukraine responsible for what they have done”.
“I was just in Kyiv on Friday, ” he added. “I had the opportunity to meet with President Zelensky and my counterpart Andriy Yermak, with the military leadership and also to get a briefing on just what level of death and devastation has been erupted by Putin’s war on that country”.
Sullivan has previously voiced his criticisms of Putin and his belief that Russia is losing the war in Ukraine. Speaking at a daily press briefing in the White House on Sept. 20, he said that the Russians were “struggling badly”.
“What Putin has done [ordered the mobilization of 300,000 reserves] is not exactly a sign of strength or confidence, frankly, it’s a sign that they’re struggling badly on the Russian side”.
““And we’re going to help the Ukrainians be able to take advantage of the gains they’ve made, and to continue to push back against the Russian forces that are brutally occupying portions of their country.”
“I think what we are seeing are signs of unbelievable struggle among the Russians,” he added. “You’ve got low morale, where the soldiers don’t want to fight. And who can blame them, because they want no part of Putin’s war of conquest in their neighbouring country. You’ve got Russia having depleted its stores of precision-guided munitions. You’ve got Russia disorganized and losing territory to a capable Ukrainian force. And you’ve got a huge amount of infighting among the Russian military leadership.”