Washington/Moscow, Oct 22 (UiTV/IANS) – In rare talks, US and Russian Defence Ministers spoke on the phone during which they discussed the Ukrainian war, according to official statements issued by Washington and Moscow.
The call on Friday was their first since May 13.
In his remarks, Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin emphasized to his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu “the importance of maintaining lines of communication amid the ongoing war”, a statement by the Defence Department said.
According to a statement by the Russian Defence Ministry, the two top officials “touched upon pressing issues of international security, including the situation in Ukraine”.
After the call, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told the BBC that the US was “eager to keep lines of communication open”.
“It has been since May since the two gentlemen spoke, so Secretary Austin took today as an opportunity to connect with Minister Shoigu,” he said.
Also addressing the media in Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin does not plan to have a phone call with his US counterpart Joe Biden now that the two defence chiefs have held talks.
“No, it is not on the agenda,” Russia’s state-run TASS News Agency quoted Peskov as saying.
The last face-to-face meet between Putin and Biden in 2021h was heralded as a positive step towards a better relationship.
The two President also held several calls in the months before the Ukraine war, but progress stalled as tensions escalated over Moscow’s invasion.
There have been no talks between the leaders since Russia launched the war on February 24.