US, Russian Defense Chiefs Speak for First Time Since Ukraine Invasion

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin finally got through to his Russian counterpart, Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu, on Friday, the first time the two have talked since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, officials said.

“On May 13, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu for the first time since Feb. 18,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement. “Secretary Austin urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication.”

Later, a senior Defense Department official, speaking on background with reporters, said they would not add any other details about the conversation except to say that Austin initiated the contact and that the pair spoke for more than an hour.

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