The US and Russian defence secretaries have spoken in a phone call, in a rare moment of high-level contact between the two countries since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu spoke on Friday, the two countries confirmed.
Both sides said the situation in Ukraine was discussed.
It is the first time they have spoken since a call on 13 May.
After Friday's 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.
Russia's defence ministry said that "current questions of international security were discussed, including the situation in Ukraine".
After their previous conversation in May, Mr Austin urged his counterpart to call an immediate ceasefire – a request that was not mentioned this time.
It comes after hints from Russian President Vladimir Putin that he may be willing to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, and warnings against this from US President Joe Biden.
Officials in both the US and the UK say they believe the chances of Mr Putin carrying out these veiled threats are low.
Asked if the call had been scheduled as a response to this issue, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said that while Putin's hints had been "irresponsible and concerning", the US has seen "no indication at this time" that Russia has decided to use nuclear weapons.
Already frosty relations between the US and Russia soured even further since the invasion of Ukraine.
The leaders of both countries had a meeting in mid-2021, which was heralded as a positive step towards a better relationship. But this progress stalled as tensions escalated over Ukraine.
Mr Putin and Mr Biden held several calls in the months before the war, in which the US president warned his Russian counterpart to stand down.
There have been no talks between the leaders since the invasion.
Both men are set to attend the G20 summit in Indonesia next month, but have indicated that they will avoid a meeting.
The US responded to the war with a package of sanctions on Russia, in addition to significant military aid to Ukraine.
Earlier this week Mr Biden accused Mr Putin of trying to intimidate Ukrainians into surrendering, after Russia declared martial law in four recently-annexed regions of Ukraine.
The Russian president is now in an "incredibly difficult position", he said, and the "only tool available to him is to brutalise individual citizens in Ukraine".
Russia has previously denounced the US and the West for attempting to influence the war by supplying weapons and other aid to Ukraine.
In one of his most anti-American speeches so far, Mr Putin accused the West of being "colonial" last month, when marking the annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
Reckless Putin will not intimidate us – Biden
US will 'never' recognise Russian claims in Ukraine
Biden warns Putin against tactical nuclear weapons
'Beginning of the end of war' – Zelensky in Kherson
Wagner chief defends brutal killing video
No new Cold War with China, Biden says after meeting Xi
'I couldn't stay silent about Putin and the war'
Inside Kherson: Joy, tears – and talk of justice
Why world leaders are meeting in Bali
The 'nomad' flower scientist who India forgot
Five mysteries about our Universe. Video
The simple diet change that will boost your memory
How did Qatar get to host the World Cup? Video
The fall of ‘King of Crypto’ Sam Bankman-Fried
What Democratic Senate means for Biden and Trump
The X-rated cartoon that shocked the US
The sand battery making waves in Finland
The mindset employers want now
© 2022 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.

source

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CoinIMP Miner is running in background.