The Kremlin says it’s in “sporadic” contact with the U.S. after White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday said the U.S. has talked directly to top-level Russian leaders as recently as the last few days.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed there are channels between the two countries to facilitate emergency communications, but said that the dialogue is “sporadic,” according to translations of state media RIA Novosti.
Since the start of the conflict, some have been concerned about the U.S. ability to get in touch with Moscow.
In appearances on multiple outlets Sunday, Sullivan said the U.S. has been “frequently” in contact with senior Russian officials over the last few months to warn of “catastrophic consequences” if Russia moves to use nuclear weapons amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened the potential use of such weapons last week, exacerbating fears of Russian escalation.
The threats come as Russia appears poised to annex occupied parts of Ukraine.
Sullivan didn’t get into details about the U.S.-Russia communication channels, but confirmed over the weekend that the U.S. has had high-level talks to discuss the possible consequences.
“Now, in private channels we have spelled out in greater detail exactly what that would mean, but we want to be able to have the credibility of speaking directly to senior leadership in Russia and laying out for them what the consequences would be without getting into a rhetorical tit for tat publicly,” Sullivan said Sunday.
The top White House national security aide repeated that the U.S. would “respond decisively” to Russian nuclear use several times throughout the weekend, though he didn’t elaborate on what that would look like.