There are reports in Russian media about secret US-Russian talks being hosted by Türkiye. The Kremlin would neither confirm nor deny the claim.
The undeclared meeting is allegedly being held on Monday in the Turkish capital Ankara, the business daily Kommersant reported. Its source said that Moscow is represented by Sergey Naryshkin, the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, but would not offer any other details, the outlet said.
When asked about the purported talks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “I cannot either confirm or deny it.”
Earlier this month, Western media reported that top Russian and US officials were engaging in undeclared contacts. According to the Wall Street Journal, US national-security adviser Jake Sullivan has been engaged with Yury Ushakov, a senior foreign policy aide to President Vladimir Putin, and with Nikolay Patrushev, Sullivan’s counterpart in the Russian government.
The White House did not deny the talks, with spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre telling journalists that the contacts focused on “risk reduction.” Meanwhile, Peskov told the WSJ at the time that the British and American press tended to print “hoaxes.”
Türkiye emerged as a principal mediator during the Ukraine crisis. In late March, it hosted Russia-Ukraine talks, during which the two parties made significant progress towards settling on a peace agreement.
The negotiations were reportedly torpedoed by the UK, when then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kiev in April. According to Ukrainian media, he told President Vladimir Zelensky that Western nations would not support the proposed security pact that was discussed with Russia.
Ankara also helped the UN to launch the Black Sea Initiative, an arrangement that allows Ukraine to export its grain via commercial ships. The agreement, which was signed in July, expires on Friday. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it may not agree to a renewal, unless the UN delivers on its promise to facilitate Moscow’s export of Russian grain and fertilizers, which was part of the deal.