Former U.S. national security officials have held secret talks with prominent Russian sources close to the Kremlin – including, on at least one occasion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – concerning potential negotiations to end the war in Ukraine, according to a Thursday report.

Officials told NBC News that these high-level talks took place behind closed doors. Lavrov was said to have met with the U.S. former officials for several hours in New York in April.

Among those involved in these discussions were former diplomat and outgoing president of the Council of Foreign Relations Richard Haass as well as fellow CFR members and former White House and State Department officials, Charles Kupchan and Thomas Graham.

Fox News Digital has reached out to the Council on Foreign Relations for comment.


Kramatorsk attack with debris scattered

In this photo provided by the National Police of Ukraine, people clear the rubble in a restaurant RIA Pizza destroyed by a Russian attack in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, Tuesday, June 27, 2023. (National Police of Ukraine via AP)

Back-channel communications are common in times of crisis to decrease the possibility of an unintended escalation between two nuclear superpowers like Russia and the U.S.

“My intelligence analysis indicates that neither side — Russia or the US is serious about wanting to settle for peace in Ukraine as their positions are irreconcilable,” former defense intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler told Fox News Digital.

“Putin would end the war if the U.S. agreed to stop arming Ukraine, and accept Crimea and the other four annexed provinces as Russian. The Biden administration is highly unlikely to accept this as this would be interpreted by the rest of the world as Putin’s win and America and Europe’s loss.”