CIA Chief In Moscow For High Level Meeting, Day After Putin Condemned US Missile Expansion In Europe
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Burns was in Moscow on Tuesday for a previously unannounced visit where he met with Russian Security Council Secretary and former Director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Nikolai Patrushev.
The closed-door, secretive meeting which was revealed after it concluded, is a first time event since Burns was appointed head of the CIA. It comes after a reported half-dozen phone calls since Biden took office between US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Patrushev – whose position involves coordinating high level national security policy for Putin.
Neither the Russian Security Council nor the US Embassy released any details on the meeting. It comes on the heels of last month’s visit of the State Department’s Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland to Moscow for rare, high-level talks.
There was simply the following confirmation released, agreed upon by both sides:
Burns and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev discussed “Russian-American relations,” it said in a terse statement.
It also appears part of the continuing initiative since Putin and Biden met in Geneva in June to rescue US-Russian relations and pursue open communications, which have hit a low-point particularly after a series of targeted US sanctions on Moscow officials going back a half-decade.
CIA Director Burns is already considered to have extensive contacts among Russian officials, having served as the US Ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008.
The two sides’ diplomats for much of the past year have also been holding closed-door arms control talks in Geneva following the Trump administration’s pullout of key Cold War era treaties, in particular the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) as well as the Open Skies treaty.
Crucially on Monday Vladimir Putin told a meeting of defense ministry officials that Washington is eyeing expanding its offensive measures in Europe. “Everyone is aware of the US’ plans to deploy intermediate-range missiles in Europe, this poses a great danger and threat to us,” he said as cited in Russian media.
“We are all well aware that some of our foreign partners do not cease attempts to break the parity, including through deploying elements of the global missile defence in direct vicinity to our borders. We cannot fail to notice these threats to Russia’s security and will react in an adequate manner,” Putin said.
Very likely these concerns were at the top of the agenda during Burns’ meeting with Patrushev on Tuesday.
Tue, 11/02/2021 – 22:25