NewsPentagon chief speaks to Russian defence minister amid Ukraine conflict

Pentagon chief speaks to Russian defence minister amid Ukraine conflict

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin spoke with the Russian defence minister
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin spoke with the Russian defence minister
Images source: © Licensor
Radosław Opas

26 June 2024 09:08

For the first time since March 2023, Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin spoke with the Russian Defence Minister, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday evening. Austin had a telephone conversation with Andrei Belousov about the "conflict in Ukraine."

As Ryder stated during a press briefing, Austin called Belousov and "emphasised the importance of maintaining communication lines during Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine." The spokesperson did not provide details, stating only that it was the first conversation with the Russian minister since 15 March 2023. At that time, Austin spoke with the then-head of the Russian Ministry of Defence, Sergey Shoigu, shortly after Russian fighter jets caused the downing of an American MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea.

This time, the conversation followed a Ukrainian attack with American ATACMS missiles on Sevastopol, which, according to the Russian side, resulted in the death of four people hit by fragments of a downed missile. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs later summoned the U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy, accusing the U.S. of directing the attack and threatening consequences.

The war in Ukraine continues

U.S. representatives responded to Russian protests with a statement that "Russia could stop this war and the suffering it causes today if it only ceased its occupation of Ukraine's sovereign territory and stopped attacking civilians."

On Tuesday, Ryder also refused to comment on CNN reports that the U.S. administration is considering allowing American civilian contractors to enter Ukraine to help on-site with the repairs and maintenance of American military equipment.

As he stated, he will not comment on "internal discussions that may be taking place," and President Biden does not intend to change his decision not to send American troops to Ukraine.

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