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US, Russian Defense Chiefs Hold Hour-Long Call In First Since Ukraine War Began

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

On Friday Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu for the first time since the invasion of Ukraine which began on Feb.24. The last time the two spoke was less than two weeks prior to the war kicked off, on Feb.18.

A month ago the Pentagon confirmed it sill had a military-to-military hotline with the Russian side, but that there was no contact at senior levels. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby voiced concern in late March: “But at the senior levels, where we think it’s really important particularly right now, that’s not happening. And it’s not happening because the Russians don’t seem to be interested.” 

The Friday call was reportedly initiated by Austin and described as "professional" – lasting for about an hour, with a defense official saying the Pentagon hopes it "will serve as a springboard for future conversations."

A statement said that Austin "continues to have concerns about what’s going on in Ukraine," but that the phone conversation "didn’t specifically solve any acute issues or lead to a direct change in what the Russians are doing and what they’re saying."

The DoD readout of the call indicated that {"Secretary Austin urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication."

It's likely that from Moscow's point of view there's little to talk about given Washington is ramping up its proxy war style involvement in support of the Ukrainians quite openly, and at an unprecedented pace – also as the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill continues to make its way to the president's desk.

US officials have been openly bragging to the press about intelligence sharing with Kiev, which they say resulted in sinking the Russian Black Sea fleet's flagship Moskva cruiser, and which has allowed Ukrainian forces to take out top Russian officers, including generals. Last week President Biden reportedly warned intelligence officials to stop the leaks, which are "counterproductive".

During this time the Pentagon said that multiple calls from US military officials to their Russian counterparts were ignored.

The US has also been training Ukraine's military on how to use new weapons systems being provided by Washington, including cutting edge small drones, such as the Switchblade and the Phoenix 'Ghost' drones. The Kremlin has responded by upping its attacks on suspected weapons convoys in Ukraine, as well as rail and transport infrastructure.

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