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Amid reports of Russian troop build-up in Ukraine, CIA chief met Putin in Moscow

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and the head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) met in Moscow last week to discuss “regional conflicts”, the Kremlin said on Monday.

The Kremlin’s spokesman said that Putin and CIA chief William Burns discussed bilateral ties, “regional conflicts” and a crisis in diplomatic relations. He did not provide further details. 

The meet comes amid reports of Russian troops build-up in the annexed part of Ukraine.

Burns was in Russia for two days of meetings with top officials at the request of President Joe Biden, the US embassy has said.

Last week, CNN reported that Burns had been sent to Moscow to warn the Kremlin about the alleged build-up of troops near Ukraine’s border. It said that after his meetings in Russia, Burns spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone.

Also read | What’s happening between Russia and Ukraine? Here’s a cheat-sheet

Biden has increased pressure on Putin since becoming US president in January. In May, Russia formally designated the United States an “unfriendly state”.

The Pentagon said last week it was monitoring the situation in Ukraine closely amid reports of a new build-up of Russian troops on the country’s border.

Also read | Russian military spotted near Ukraine border after US warning

Ukraine’s Defence Ministry said earlier this week that an estimated 90,000 Russian troops were positioned along the border and in rebel-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine.

However, Russia denied the troop build-up claim.

“Russia maintains troops presence on its territory wherever it deems necessary,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters last week.

Russia earlier this week complained about US and NATO activity in the Black Sea as its naval forces practised destroying enemy targets there.

(With inputs from agencies)



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