January 24, 2022

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U.S.-Russia Engagement Deepens as C.I.A. Head Travels to Moscow

U.S.-Russia Engagement Deepens as C.I.A. Head Travels to Moscow

MOSCOW — William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, met with a high adviser to President Vladimir V. Putin in Moscow on Tuesday, main a delegation of American officers on a two-day go to to the Russian capital that served as the most recent proof of heightened engagement between two global adversaries.

Mr. Burns was touring at President Biden’s request, the American Embassy in Moscow stated in a press release. The shock go to was one thing of a merger of Mr. Burns’s present function as intelligence chief and his previous jobs as a senior American diplomat and state division official. Karen Donfried, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, joined Mr. Burns in his assembly with the adviser to Mr. Putin, Nikolai Patrushev.

“They’re assembly with members of the Russian authorities to debate a spread of points within the bilateral relationship,” an embassy spokesman stated of the American delegation’s go to, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

It was not less than the fourth journey to Moscow since July by a senior American official, a pointy uptick in touch that has come within the wake of the summit meeting between Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin in Geneva in June. Officers on each side say the talks have to this point yielded no breakthroughs and are aimed primarily at stabilizing the connection between two nuclear-armed adversaries more and more competing in our on-line world in addition to geopolitics.

The talks embody a severe dialog on arms management and one other on cybersecurity. The US, for instance, has turned over the names and different particulars of some hackers actively launching assaults on America from Russia, and is ready to see if the data ends in arrests, The New York Instances has reported.

The 2 sides are additionally discussing different issues of mutual curiosity, together with North Korea, Afghanistan and local weather coverage.

American officers have additionally stated that Moscow has been useful in ongoing talks with Iran about its nuclear program. Mr. Burns was one of many diplomats who started the again channel talks with Tehran that in the end led to the worldwide settlement in 2015 to restrict its nuclear program. Former President Donald J. Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018.

“Whereas the variety of points that we’ve reached settlement on shouldn’t be nice, we’re on the best path,” Mr. Putin stated final month, praising the White Home as “serious about constructing ties.”

Mr. Burns’s go to — and the choice to instantly disclose it — underlined the efforts by each side to telegraph that they had been working to handle a risky relationship.

Mr. Biden has argued that whilst the US and Russia compete on the world stage they need to be capable to cooperate “the place it’s in our mutual pursuits.” However his stance has opened him as much as criticism that he’s too prepared to interact with a rustic that’s undermining American pursuits globally and repressing dissent at house.

After touchdown on Tuesday, Mr. Burns sat down with Mr. Patrushev, who’s the secretary of the Kremlin’s Safety Council and is extensively seen as essentially the most highly effective determine among the many intelligence officers in Mr. Putin’s internal circle. In a quick video of the beginning of the assembly posted on-line by Russian media, Mr. Patrushev tells Mr. Burns, seated throughout from him at a convention desk: “I’m glad to greet you in Moscow.”

The C.I.A. declined to remark.

Russian officers have publicly floated the potential for a second assembly between Mr. Putin and Mr. Biden earlier than the top of the yr, though the White Home has not confirmed that one other summit is into consideration. American officers would doubtless need to see some additional progress on the problems mentioned in Geneva earlier than agreeing to a different assembly.

Requested on Tuesday about the potential for one other Putin-Biden assembly, the Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, stated that there was “a mutual curiosity in holding such contacts.”

“The timetable will probably be decided,” Mr. Peskov stated.

The White Home has used Mr. Burns as one thing of a roving diplomat, sending him, for instance, to Afghanistan to talk with Taliban leaders throughout the evacuation of the Kabul airport in August. He additionally met with senior Israeli leaders in Israel forward of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s go to to Washington.

A former U.S. ambassador to Moscow who has twice been stationed as a diplomat in Russia, he is likely one of the Biden Administration’s senior officers most skilled in Russian affairs.

The vary of intelligence points between the US and Russia consists of Moscow’s election interference, pushing of disinformation globally, and ransomware assaults by Russian legal teams.

It isn’t clear if Mr. Burns was going to boost the problem of the anomalous well being incidents generally known as “Havana Syndrome,’’ a rising variety of episodes the place C.I.A. officers and different officers have suffered traumatic mind accidents after experiencing unusual stress, warmth or sounds.

Some American officers say privately that they imagine Russia is answerable for these well being incidents.

Nonetheless, C.I.A. analysts and different American intelligence companies haven’t but drawn any formal conclusions about what has prompted them. Russia has dismissed hypothesis that it may very well be accountable as “unhealthy fantasies.”

Anton Troianovski reported from Moscow and Julian E. Barnes from Washington.

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