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Bolton to meet Russian official in Geneva next week

Russian President Vladimir Putin and National Security Adviser John Bolton meet in Russia. (Russian Embassy/Facebook)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The Kremlin says preparations are under way for a meeting next week between a Russian official and White House national-security adviser John Bolton.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on August 15 that “contacts are indeed planned and being prepared” for a meeting in Geneva between Bolton and a Russian envoy. He did not elaborate.

Peskov’s comment comes a day after the White House said Bolton would meet with “his Russian counterpart” in Geneva in order to follow up on the July summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The White House said the two would discuss a “range of important national security issues.”

Although the White House did not name the Russian official, Bolton’s counterpart is widely considered to be Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Putin’s Security Council.

The Security Council of Russia is a consultative body for Putin’s policies on national security affairs.

After Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Patrushev was placed on the European Union’s sanctions list. The United States imposed sanctions on Patrushev in April 2018.

Following their July 16 summit in Helsinki, Trump and Putin said they had taken the “first steps” toward mending badly strained ties between the United States and Russia.

However, critics of Trump described the summit as playing directly into Putin’s hands.

A new round of U.S. sanctions targeting Russia was announced on August 8, prompting an angry reaction from Moscow and a threat to retaliate.

Relations between Washington and Moscow have been badly frayed by tensions over issues the annexation of Crimea, Russia’s role in the wars in eastern Ukraine and Syria, and Russia’s alleged public-opinion-manipulation campaign in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

With reporting by Reuters and TASS