Russia has ‘nothing to say’ on reported US de-escalation talks


The Kremlin has declined to comment on a Wall Street Journal report which claimed the United States held undisclosed talks with top Russian officials on avoiding further escalation in the Ukraine war.

According to the report, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with aides to President Vladimir Putin in the hope of reducing the risk of a broader war or nuclear conflict.

“We have nothing to say about this publication,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

The newspaper reported that US officials said Sullivan has been in contact with Yuri Ushakov, a foreign policy adviser to Putin, and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

Peskov also declined to comment on a Washington Post report over the weekend that said the US had privately encouraged Ukraine to negotiate with Russia.

“We have nothing to say about this publication,” Peskov said.

“Once again, I repeat that there are some truthful reports, but for the most part, there are reports that are pure speculation,” he said, directing journalists to contact the White House or the newspaper itself.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he sees no room for negotiations with Russia, an option he officially ruled out after Russia held illegal referendums that resulted in the “annexation” of four Ukrainian regions in September.

Zelenskyy has said he may negotiate with a new Russian president, whenever one emerges.

The Ukrainian public, having suffered enormously over the past eight months of war, are often outraged whenever foreign figures suggest they accept the conflict’s current state and give in to Russia’s demands.

Recently, tech billionaire Elon Musk tweeted a plan to end the war that would give Crimea to Russia and hold United Nations-organised referendums in the four regions Moscow has annexed about whether Russia stays or goes.

Musk was blasted for it, but a lack of negotiations is causing concern among international powers.

“Ukraine fatigue is a real thing for some of our partners,” an anonymous US official reportedly told the Washington Post.

As Tuesday’s US midterm elections get closer, polls show that support for Ukraine among Republican voters is dwindling, meaning that the continuation of aid could be in jeopardy.

According to a Wall Street Journal poll, 48 percent of Republicans said the US was doing “too much” to support Ukraine.

With global inflation rates rising, new questions have been raised about the future of the US assistance, which has already reached $18.2bn.

Other nations that were already reluctant to outwardly support Ukraine could also push for more peace talks if the war continues.

Zelenskyy has refused to speak to Russia unless Ukraine regains all its captured territory, but according to the Washington Post, US officials believe the Ukrainian leader will probably be open to negotiations in the winter.