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

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Europe|U.S.-Russia Engagement Deepens arsenic C.I.A. Head Travels to Moscow


It was astatine slightest the 4th travel to Moscow since July by a elder American authoritative arsenic the 2 sides question to stabilize a volatile relationship.

William Burns, the C.I.A. connected  Capitol Hill successful  Washington, successful  February. His travel   to Moscow was astatine  slightest  the 4th  specified  travel   since July by a elder  American official.
Credit...Pool photograph by Tom Williams

Anton TroianovskiJulian E. Barnes

Nov. 2, 2021, 2:01 p.m. ET

MOSCOW — William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, met with a apical advisor to President Vladimir V. Putin successful Moscow connected Tuesday, starring a delegation of American officials connected a two-day sojourn to the Russian superior that served arsenic the latest grounds of heightened engagement betwixt 2 planetary adversaries.

Mr. Burns was traveling astatine President Biden’s request, the American Embassy successful Moscow said successful a statement. The astonishment sojourn was thing of a merger of Mr. Burns’s existent relation arsenic quality main and his past jobs arsenic a elder American diplomat and authorities section official. Karen Donfried, the adjunct caput of authorities for European and Eurasian Affairs, joined Mr. Burns successful his gathering with the advisor to Mr. Putin, Nikolai Patrushev.

“They are gathering with members of the Russian authorities to sermon a scope of issues successful the bilateral relationship,” an embassy spokesperson said of the American delegation’s visit, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

It was astatine slightest the 4th travel to Moscow since July by a elder American official, a crisp uptick successful interaction that has travel successful the aftermath of the summit meeting betwixt Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin successful Geneva successful June. Officials connected some sides accidental the talks person truthful acold yielded nary breakthroughs and are aimed chiefly astatine stabilizing the narration betwixt 2 nuclear-armed adversaries progressively competing successful cyberspace arsenic good arsenic geopolitics.

The talks see a superior speech connected arms power and different connected cybersecurity. The United States, for example, has turned implicit the names and different details of a fewer hackers actively launching attacks connected America from Russia, and is waiting to spot if the accusation results successful arrests, The New York Times has reported.

The 2 sides are besides discussing different matters of communal interest, including North Korea, Afghanistan and clime policy.

American officials person besides said that Moscow has been adjuvant successful ongoing talks with Iran astir its atomic program. Mr. Burns was 1 of the diplomats who began the backmost transmission talks with Tehran that yet led to the planetary statement successful 2015 to bounds its atomic program. Former President Donald J. Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018.

“While the fig of issues that we person reached statement connected is not great, we are connected the close path,” Mr. Putin said past month, praising the White House arsenic “interested successful gathering ties.”

Mr. Burns’s sojourn — and the determination to instantly disclose it — underlined the efforts by some sides to telegraph that they were moving to negociate a volatile relationship.

Mr. Biden has argued that adjacent arsenic the United States and Russia vie connected the satellite signifier they should beryllium capable to cooperate “where it’s successful our communal interests.” But his stance has opened him up to disapproval that helium is excessively consenting to prosecute with a state that is undermining American interests globally and repressing dissent astatine home.

After landing connected Tuesday, Mr. Burns sat down with Mr. Patrushev, who is the caput of the Kremlin’s Security Council and is wide seen arsenic the astir almighty fig among the quality officials successful Mr. Putin’s interior circle. In a little video of the commencement of the gathering posted online by Russian media, Mr. Patrushev tells Mr. Burns, seated crossed from him astatine a league table: “I americium gladsome to greet you successful Moscow.”

The C.I.A. declined to comment.

Russian officials person publically floated the anticipation of a 2nd gathering betwixt Mr. Putin and Mr. Biden earlier the extremity of the year, though the White House has not confirmed that different acme is nether consideration. American officials would apt privation to spot immoderate further advancement connected the issues discussed successful Geneva earlier agreeing to different meeting.

Asked connected Tuesday astir the anticipation of different Putin-Biden meeting, the Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said that determination was “a communal involvement successful holding specified contacts.”

“The timetable volition beryllium determined,” Mr. Peskov said.

The White House has utilized Mr. Burns arsenic thing of a roving diplomat, sending him, for example, to Afghanistan to speech with Taliban leaders during the evacuation of the Kabul airdrome successful August. He besides met with senior Israeli leaders successful Israel ahead of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s sojourn to Washington.

A erstwhile U.S. ambassador to Moscow who has doubly been stationed arsenic a diplomat successful Russia, helium is 1 of the Biden Administration’s elder officials astir experienced successful Russian affairs.

The scope of quality issues betwixt the United States and Russia includes Moscow’s predetermination interference, pushing of disinformation globally, and ransomware attacks by Russian transgression groups.

It is not wide if Mr. Burns was going to rise the contented of the anomalous wellness incidents known arsenic “Havana Syndrome,’’ a increasing fig of episodes wherever C.I.A. officers and different officials person suffered traumatic encephalon injuries aft experiencing unusual pressure, vigor oregon sounds.

Some American officials accidental privately that they judge Russia is liable for those wellness incidents.

However, C.I.A. analysts and different American quality agencies person not yet drawn immoderate ceremonial conclusions astir what has caused them. Russia has dismissed speculation that it could beryllium liable arsenic “unhealthy fantasies.”

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

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