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U.S., Russian Defense Ministers Speak by Phone

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke to his Russian counterpart, Andrei Belousov. Credit: Chad McNeeley, DOD

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters at the Pentagon yesterday that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Russian Defense Minister Andrey Belousov spoke by phone at the initiative of the U.S. side. “During the call, the Secretary emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication amid Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine,” he said. “The last time Secretary Austin spoke to his Russian counterpart, then-Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, was on March 15th, 2023.”

The Russian readout, not issued until this morning, was likewise terse. “The defense ministers shared their views on the situation in Ukraine,” it said. “Andrey Belousov pointed out the danger of further escalation due to continued supply of U.S. weapons to the AFU [Armed Forces of Ukraine]. Other issues were also discussed.”