Jake Sullivan holds highest-level U.S. talks with Russia since invasion
National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke to the Russian Security Council on Wednesday and reiterated U.S. disapproval of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to the White House.
Why it matters: It's the first public disclosure of a high-level call between U.S. and Russian officials since Moscow's attack on Ukraine started in late February.
- Sullivan was among many Biden administration officials, including President Biden himself, who were sanctioned by the Russian government on Tuesday.
What they're saying: The White House said Sullivan told Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, that the U.S. intends "to continue imposing costs on Russia, to support the defense of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank."
- "Mr. Sullivan told Gen. Patrushev that if Russia is serious about diplomacy, then Moscow should stop attacking Ukrainian cities and towns. Mr. Sullivan also warned Gen. Patrushev about the consequences and implications of any possible Russian decision to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine," the White House said.
The big picture: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a virtual address to Congress on Wednesday pleaded for additional assistance from the U.S., including the establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine. He directly called on Biden to "be the leader of the world."
- Biden has been adamantly against a no-fly zone over Ukraine, fearing it would entail NATO soldiers coming into direct combat with Russian forces and leading to a larger conflict.
- Zelensky in a separate address Wednesday said peace talks between Ukraine and Russia were beginning to "sound more realistic" as the war entered its third week, though stressed that "patience is needed."
- Biden is set to travel to Brussels next week to meet with the European Council to discuss Russia's war with Ukraine.