Thu. Nov 24th, 2022

US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns is in Turkey for talks with Russia’s foreign intelligence chief to deliver a message about the consequences of Russia’s potential use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, a White House official said.

The Russian newspaper Kommersant was the first to report on the American-Russian contact in Turkey. It quoted an unidentified source as saying that Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence service, would attend the talks.

A White House official said Burns, the former US ambassador to Russia, had not had any negotiations with Naryshkin.

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Ukraine was notified in advance of Burns’ trip to Turkey, the official said. Burns is not discussing resolving the war in Ukraine, but is delivering a message about the consequences of Russia’s use of nuclear weapons, the official added.

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In 2021, Burns met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin at the behest of President Joe Biden in an attempt to convey Washington’s concerns about the Russian troop buildup around Ukraine.

Asked about the Kommersant report, the Kremlin said it could neither confirm nor deny it. SVR did not respond to a request for comment.

Outside of the war, Russia and the United States have plenty of open issues to discuss, ranging from extending the key nuclear arms reduction and Black Sea grain deals to a possible US-Russian prisoner exchange and the Syrian civil war.