NewsPentagon chief holds rare talk with Russian minister amid tensions

Pentagon chief holds rare talk with Russian minister amid tensions

Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin spoke with the Russian Defense Minister
Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin spoke with the Russian Defense Minister
Images source: © Licensor

8:08 AM EDT, June 26, 2024

The Pentagon announced Tuesday evening that for the first time since March 2023, Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin spoke with the Russian Defense Minister. Austin spoke with Andrei Belousov on the telephone about the "conflict in Ukraine."

As Ryder stated during a press briefing, Austin called Belousov and "emphasized 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 March 15, 2023. At that time, Austin spoke with the then-head of the Russian Ministry of Defense, 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 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," President Biden does not intend to change his decision not to send American troops to Ukraine.

Related content