US re-establishes defense contacts with Moscow

US and Russian defense officials spoke for the first time in months on Friday, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he saw no interest on the part of Moscow to hold broader talks to end to the war in Ukraine.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “emphasized the importance of keeping the lines of communication open amid the ongoing war against Ukraine” during a telephone conversation with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the spokesman said. Pentagon voice and Brigadier General Pat Ryder.

For its part, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the phone conversation and said the two talked about Ukraine, without offering further details.

Defense officials from the two countries had last spoken on May 13, when Austin asked Moscow to establish an “immediate ceasefire” in Ukraine.

Russia did not, and since then Kiev forces have reclaimed swathes of territory in the east and south of the country from Moscow with the support of the United States and other Western nations, which have sent billions of dollars in weapons and equipment. .

Austin also spoke with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov “to reiterate the United States’ unwavering commitment to support Ukraine’s ability to counter Russian aggression,” Ryder said.

Blinken, for his part, said that the United States would maintain its contacts with Russia, but added that broader diplomacy depended on President Vladimir Putin showing interest “in stopping aggression” against Ukrainian territory.

“We have not seen evidence of that at this point. On the contrary, we see Russia doubling and tripling its aggression,” Blinken told a joint news conference with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

In this regard, the American official mentioned Russia’s recent attacks on power plants and other civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, as well as the partial deployment of troops, which he considered “horrible” as it is “cannon fodder that Putin is trying to throw in war”.

“The fundamental difference is that Ukrainians are fighting for their country, their land, their future. And Russia is not. The sooner President Putin understands this and comes to this conclusion, the sooner we can end this war,” Blinken said. .

The last time the US Secretary of State met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in January of this year, to warn of the consequences of an invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow ended up carrying out a month later.

Since then, Blinken has declined to meet with Lavrov, but spoke to him by phone in July in an attempt to free American citizens stranded in Russia.


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