US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu to keep “lines of communication” open on the war in Ukraine, a spokesman said.
“Secretary Austin emphasised the importance of maintaining lines of communication amid the ongoing war against Ukraine,” Brig-Gen Pat Ryder said in a statement following their phone call. Russia also confirmed the call.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to new lows since the start of the war. Russia has accused the US of seeking to prolong the conflict by providing financial and military aid to pro-Western Ukraine, while Washington has condemned Moscow’s invasion as illegal.
Austin also spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov “to reiterate the unwavering US commitment to supporting Ukraine’s ability to counter Russia’s aggression”.