Amid build-up of Russian army on Ukrainian border, US CIA director meets with Russian security chief in Moscow
MOSCOW (AP / WNCN) – A senior Russian security official met with the visiting Central Intelligence Agency chief on Tuesday, a rare encounter amid tensions between Moscow and Washington.
Nikolai Patrushev, the powerful secretary of the Kremlin Security Council, met with CIA director William Burns in Moscow to discuss US-Russian relations, Patrushev’s office said in a statement without providing any details.
Ties between the two countries have been severely frayed due to Russian interference in the US elections and the 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, its support for a separatist insurgency in the eastern part of the country. ‘Ukraine, hacking attacks and other irritants.
On Monday, Politico reported that satellite images showed Russia was massing military equipment and troops on the border with Ukraine.
Politico showed satellite images from Maxar Technologies showing the increase in the number of armored units and other support equipment near Yelnya, Russia, about 40 miles from the border with Ukraine.
Important equipment includes tanks, artillery and ground troops, the website reported.
Jane’s Defense reported on Monday that the Russian 4th Armored Division is now located near Ukraine’s northern border around the Russian cities of Kursk and Bryansk.
The massive military movements add to the major Russian accumulations in the same regions in the spring.
Also on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the need to strengthen the country’s air defenses as part of NATO military activities near Russia’s borders.
Speaking at a meeting with military officials and arms manufacturers in the southern Russian city of Sochi, Putin specifically noted the deployment of state-led NATO missile defense components. United in Eastern Europe and the increasingly frequent missions of NATO ships near Russian waters in the Baltic and Black Seas. .
âEven now an American warship has entered the Black Sea, and we can see it through binoculars or in the reticle of our defense systems,â he said, apparently referring to the deployment of the American destroyer. USS Porter, which sailed in the Black Sea. over the weekend and is to be joined this week by the USS Mount Whitney, the flagship of the U.S. 6th Fleet.
US President Joe Biden and Putin held a summit in June in Geneva with the aim of making relations between their nations more stable and predictable.
They agreed to launch consultations on arms control and cybersecurity while noting areas of continuing disagreement.
Speaking last month, Putin described relations with Washington as âquite constructiveâ and said he had personally developed âstable working relationshipsâ with Biden. The Russian leader expressed hope that mutual interests would eventually help normalize US-Russian relations.
Patrushev, a longtime close associate of Putin, is considered one of Russia’s most influential officials.
Speaking at an online panel on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov noted that US-Russian relations are more troubled now than they were even during the height of the Cold War and called for swift action to reduce tensions.
He particularly welcomed the consultations on arms control that followed the Geneva summit and expressed the hope that they could make progress.
Ryabkov lamented the US Embassy’s decision to stop issuing nonimmigrant visas to Russians and encouraged Washington to send additional consular staff to resume normal activities.
Russia and the United States have exchanged several rounds of expulsions of diplomats and taken other measures restricting the activities of their respective diplomatic missions amid growing tensions in recent years.
As part of the exchange of diplomatic blows, Russia has banned the United States Embassy from hiring local residents. The embassy said the move forced it to cut its consular staff by 75% and cut most services to U.S. citizens as well as processing nonimmigrant visas for non-diplomatic travel.
A senior US official told reporters last month that the US embassy in Moscow fell from around 1,200 in 2017 to around 120, a dramatic reduction.
The official, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, said the staff shortage made it difficult to pursue anything other than an interim presence at the embassy, ââadding that the Russian government was aware of this. and that progress needed to be made. done soon.
PA diplomatic writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.