U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan in talks with Kremlin to prevent nuclear escalation

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has held talks with top aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin amid rising tensions between Washington and Moscow in recent weeks, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Speaking in New York, Mr Sullivan said it was "in the interests" of the US to maintain contact with the Kremlin.

But he insisted officials were "clear-eyed about who we are dealing with".

It comes as the White House refuses to deny reports that Mr Sullivan has been leading talks with Russia to prevent a nuclear escalation in Ukraine.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Mr Sullivan has held confidential discussions with his Russian counterpart, Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev, and senior Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov, over the past several months.

Senior officials told the paper the men had discussed ways to guard against the risk of nuclear escalation in the war in Ukraine, but had not engaged in any negotiations around ways to end the conflict.

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