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US and Russia make first ‘high-level’ contact since war began in Ukraine: White House

U.S. National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan (Asia Society/Flickr)

The United States and Russia on Wednesday held their first ‘high-level’ talks since the war in Ukraine began, the White House said, adding that US National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan held a discussion with General Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of the Russian Security Council.

“If Russia is serious about diplomacy, then it should stop attacking Ukrainian cities and towns,” a White House statement quoted Sullivan as saying. The statement further noted that Sullivan also laid out Washington’s commitment to continue imposing sanctions against President Vladimir Putin and members of his regime, as well as Russian oligarchs, and to support Ukraine in its defence against the ongoing military offensive.

The statement made no mention of what General Patrushev told Sullivan. However, it came shortly after Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of the war-hit nation, made an impassioned speech to the US Congress. Addressing American lawmakers via video, Zelenskyy sought further military assitance for his country, as well as additional sanctions against Russia, calling for withdrawal of all American businesses from that country.

“This conflict is a terror that Europe has not seen…for 80 years. Russia is on a brutal offensive against our values against our right to live freely in our own country, against our national dreams. Just like the same dreams you Americans have,” the former comic actor-turned-leader said.

Thus far, the US has imposed a host of sanctions against Russia for the latter’s invasion of its neighbour, which began on February 24. However, on March 15, Moscow, too, imposed sanctions against several top US officials, including President Joe Biden, secretary of state Antony Blinken and defense secretary Lloyd Austin, intelligence chief William Burns, Sullivan, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and others.

The US Senate then passed a unanimous resolution condemning Putin and branding him a ‘war criminal.’


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