Intelligence officers of the US and Russia reportedly met face-to-face in Ankara amidst of nuclear threats from Kremlin and “unjustly” custody of American prisoners by Russia.
According to reports, the meeting took place on Monday between CIA Director William Burns and his Russian counterpart Sergei Naryshkin.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said it came as “an initiative of the American side”. But he did not provide further details.
The White House in a statement clarified that the meeting wasn’t related to ending the war.
“He is not conducting negotiations of any kind. He is not discussing settlement of the war in Ukraine,” the statement said.
“We firmly stick to our fundamental principle: nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” it said.
The CIA chief’s message was “on the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons by Russia,” and the risk of “escalation to strategic stability,” the White House said in a statement.
This comes at a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin has been repeating his rhetoric on the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff,” Putin said on September 21.
Apart from that, the two officials also held discussions on the issue of US citizens being detained by Russia.
US basketball star Brittney Griner was arrested last year in Moscow on drug charges, as well as Paul Whelan, an auto supply company official, was convicted of spying after his arrest in 2018.
The US has reportedly called for a prisoner swap, with reports that it is considering exchanging jailed Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for the Americans.
(With inputs from agencies)
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