US, Russia military chiefs speak on the phone

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Top generals from Russia and the United States spoke over the phone on Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, amid Western fears that Moscow might be plotting to invade neighboring Ukraine.

The ministry said in a statement that Chief of Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley discussed “current questions of international security”, without providing further details.

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Western countries have this month raised alarm over reported Russian military activity near Ukraine with growing allegations that Moscow is planning an invasion.

Moscow has dismissed these claims.

Last week, Ukraine said it was seeking more military aid from Western allies.

On Tuesday, two patrol boats sent to Ukraine’s navy by the United States arrived at the southern port of Odessa.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that any US moves to send more hardware and military advisers to Ukraine would only raise tensions further.

Ukraine’s army has been locked in a simmering conflict with pro-Russian separatists in two breakaway regions bordering Russia since 2014, after Moscow annexed Crimea.

Kiev and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and arms across the border to support the separatists -- claims Moscow denies.

Read more: Ukraine gets two US patrol boats amid tension with Russia

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