Washington: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu spoke over the phone, marking the first conversation between the two top officials since Moscow began its war against Ukraine on February 24
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during the call on Friday, Austin “urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasizing the importance of maintaining lines of communication”.
According to Kirby, the last time Austin and Shoigu spoke to each other was on February 18.
“The Secretary urged an end to the conflict in Ukraine and he stressed the importance of maintaining communication,” the Press Secretary said at a briefing later.
In a brief statement issued on Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry said Shoigu and Austin discussed topical issues of international security, including the situation in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley is expected to reach out to his Russian counterpart, Valery Gerasimov, to request a phone call, according to a CNN report citing an American defense official.
The two last spoke on February 11.