The White House said Monday the United States is ready to start diplomatic talks with Russia through multiple channels, but it made clear that Moscow must address Western concerns about its military buildup along the Ukrainian border.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with his counterpart, Yuri Ushakov, foreign policy adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the White House saying the U.S. was willing to talk directly with the Kremlin, as well as through the NATO-Russia Council and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The White House said Sullivan told Ushakov that “any dialogue must be based on reciprocity and address our concerns about Russia’s actions.”
In a virtual summit two weeks ago, U.S. President Joe Biden warned Putin that the U.S. would impose tough economic sanctions against Russia if it invaded Ukraine. Moscow has amassed tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s eastern border, although Washington has indicated that it does not believe Putin has decided to launch an attack on Ukraine.
There was no immediate comment from Moscow about the Sullivan-Ushakov call.
Last week, Moscow listed security proposals it wanted to negotiate, including a pledge that NATO would give up any military activity in Eastern Europe and Ukraine. Biden has ruled out deploying U.S. ground troops if Russia invades Ukraine, but the U.S. has been shipping arms to Kyiv.
The Pentagon said that the security package includes small arms and ammunition and Javelin missiles, which the U.S. says can be used anywhere in Ukraine but only for self-defense purposes.