Llyod Austin holds 1-hour call with Sergei Shoigu: What they discussed
- US defence secretary Llyod Austin held an hour-long phone call with Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu
- The call marked the first conversation between the two since February 18
- It came amid heightened tensions between Russia and the West
"On May 13, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu for the first time since February 18," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement on Friday.
Kirby went on to shed some details on what the two officials discussed, saying that Austin "urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication."
Reportedly, it was Austin who requested to speak with his Russian counterpart, with an unnamed official telling CNN that the US defence secretary "initiated" contact.
"Both leaders had a chance to talk back and forth with one another, but I’m not gonna get any more into the context of it," CNN quoted the official as saying.
The first talk between the two officials since the beginning of the Russian invasion comes amid heightened tensions between Moscow and the West, which is perhaps why Austin urged his Russian counterpart to maintain open lines of communication.
"Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop threats to its national security arising," Russia's foreign ministry had warned a day earlier after Finland expressed its desire to join NATO at the earliest.