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Top US, Russian Generals Speak for First Time Since Ukraine War Began, Says Pentagon

Flames rise from a destroyed building, following a missile attack in Kharkiv. (File photo/Reuters)

Flames rise from a destroyed building, following a missile attack in Kharkiv. (File photo/Reuters)

The last time the two spoke by telephone was on February 11, when Washington was warning publicly of Russian plans to invade Ukraine and was hoping its warnings would discourage Moscow from moving ahead

Top US General Mark Milley spoke by telephone on Thursday with his Russian counterpart General Valery Gerasimov, their first discussion since before Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, the Pentagon said.

Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gerasimov, chief of the Russian General Staff, “discussed several security-related issues of concern,” according to a spokesman for the US Joint Staff, offering no other details.

According to a report by TV Zvezda, which is controlled by the Russian Defense Ministry, the call took place at the request of Milley and the two spoke about the situation in Ukraine.

The last time the two spoke by telephone was on February 11, when Washington was warning publicly of Russian plans to invade Ukraine and was hoping its warnings would discourage Moscow from moving ahead.

“They have not spoken since then until today,” said Commander Sean Riordan, a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held their first discussions since the war began on 13 May, with Austin urging the Russians to implement an “immediate ceasefire.”

However, a Pentagon spokesman said later that the call “didn’t specifically solve any acute issues or lead to a direct change in what the Russians are doing or what they are saying.”

The call came as Washington is stepping up its arms support for Ukraine, with a new $40 billion aid package expected to be passed by the Congress on Thursday.

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first published:May 19, 2022, 22:36 IST