Heads of U.S. and Russian General Staffs Talked by Phone

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley also spoke to AFU Commander-in-Chief Ruslan Khomchak on Wednesday

The head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, and the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Army General Valery Gerasimov, held telephone talks on Monday, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing the Russian news agency RIA Novosti and the Russian Defense Ministry.

According to the agency, the conversation took place at the initiative of the American side.

Both sides did not elaborate on the content of Milly’s conversation with Gerasimov. However, the phone conversation took place precisely after Kiev said that Russia was building up its armed forces near its borders with Ukraine, posing a threat to the country’s security.

“The two military leaders exchanged views on issues of mutual interest,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

This is not the first time such telephone conversations between U.S. and Russian military commanders have taken place. One such conversation occurred earlier this year, Reuters recalls.

General Mark Milley also spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Ruslan Khomchak, on Wednesday.

Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the spike in violence in the conflict, which Kiev says has killed 14,000 people since 2014.

A Defense Department spokesman said the Pentagon has reached out to Russia for clarification, adding that the United States is concerned about the recent escalation of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.

“We have received reports from the Ukrainian military about Russian troop movements on Ukraine’s borders. We are discussing with NATO allies our concerns about this increase in tension, cease-fire violations, and regional tensions,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

Ukraine, Western countries and NATO accuse Russia of sending troops and heavy weapons to support the separatists.

Moscow claims that only political and humanitarian aid is provided to the separatists, and claims that all Russians fighting in eastern Ukraine are there of their own free will and are “volunteers.

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