A US embassy spokesman said on Tuesday (2) that Bill Burns, the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, is leading a delegation of senior US officials in Moscow to a two-day series of meetings with Russian officials.
“They are meeting with members of the Russian government to discuss a number of issues in bilateral relations,” the spokesman said, without going into further details.
One of these meetings was between Burns and the head of the National Security Council in RussiaNikolai Patrushev. A brief statement issued by the powerful council said the two sides discussed “Russian-American relations.” The meeting was not announced in advance and the CIA, which does not discuss the director’s agenda, declined to comment.
The rare – but previously unheard of – meetings between the CIA chief and top Russian security officials come amid ongoing tensions between Washington and Moscow.
The Biden government imposed sanctions on Russia related to electoral interference, poisoning of an opposition critic Alexei Navalny and cyber attacks on US interests. The authorities are carefully monitoring the recent movements of Russian forces across the Ukrainian border. Russia also remains under sanctions for its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
However, the United States sees opportunities for cooperation with Russia, particularly in the field of arms control, and the intelligence community under previous administrations has sought to seek points of common interest with Moscow.
“We meet periodically with our colleagues in Russian intelligence for the same reason as our predecessors – to keep Americans safe,” Mike Pompeo, former President Trump’s first CIA director, wrote in a letter calling for a meeting with senior CIA officials. 2018. This meeting drew attention mainly because it was held on US soil, with officials who were under US sanctions.
Burns, a veteran diplomat, has extensive experience in Russia. He served as the US ambassador there from 2005 to 2008.
Anne Neuberger, the national security adviser for emerging and cyber technologies, said at an event in Washington last week that the Biden administration had maintained an “open, direct and frank dialogue” with Russia on the issue of cyber attacks.
Biden pressed Putin to quell a wave of malicious ransomware attacks on American organizations — including critical infrastructure — from Russia and announced the start of cybersecurity talks between the United States and Russia at the end of a summit meeting with Putin in Switzerland in June.
A senior government official told reporters last month, speaking on condition of anonymity, that the US government had “shared information with Russia about criminal ransomware activity conducted on its territory.”
It is not clear whether the negotiations have yielded substantive results. Nobelium, the Russian hacker group responsible for hack do SolarWindsAs many as 14 tech companies have committed since May as part of another spying campaign, Microsoft said last week.
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