Biden administration did not sanction unofficial talks with Russians, State Dept says

biden-administration-did-not-sanction-unofficial-talks-with-russians,-state-dept-says
Biden administration did not sanction unofficial talks with Russians, State Dept says

The White House and State Department confirmed that President Joe Biden’s administration did not endorse or facilitate secret meetings between former top U.S. national security officials and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russians to discuss potential talks on ending the Ukraine war. According to NBC News, the former U.S. officials, including Richard Haass and two former White House aides, met Lavrov in New York in April. It remains unclear how often the group, which included former Pentagon officials, engaged in discussions with other influential Russians believed to have close ties to the Kremlin. NBC News also reported that at least one member of the group traveled to Russia.

In response to questions from RushHourDaily, a State Department spokesperson stated that the Biden administration did not approve of these discussions and reiterated the administration’s stance that any negotiations regarding the Ukraine war must involve Ukrainian officials. The spokesperson emphasized that the administration would continue to provide military support to Kyiv so that Ukrainian officials can negotiate from a position of strength when they deem it appropriate.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby acknowledged that the White House was aware of the unofficial discussions but clarified that they were not encouraged or supported by the administration. Kirby reiterated President Biden’s position that Ukraine must be involved in any discussions related to the war.

According to NBC News, six individuals briefed on the discussions revealed that the purpose of the meetings was to lay the groundwork for potential talks on ending the war, which began with Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The report stated that the discussions took place with the knowledge of the administration but not under its direction. Those who met with Lavrov reportedly briefed the White House afterward.

In conclusion, the Biden administration denied sanctioning or endorsing the secret meetings between former U.S. officials and Russian officials regarding the Ukraine war. The administration reiterated its commitment to involving Ukrainian officials in any negotiations and pledged to continue supporting Ukraine militarily. The White House acknowledged its awareness of the discussions but emphasized that it did not actively support or encourage them. The purpose of the meetings was reportedly to lay the groundwork for potential talks on ending the war, with the administration being informed of the discussions but not directing them.

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