Russia Ukraine conflict

US says diplomats not ready for talks with Russian counterparts over Ukraine war

The Pentagon chief and the top US military general have now held calls with their Russian counterparts for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Despite recent calls between the Pentagon chief and the top US military general with their Russian counterparts, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other senior US diplomats are not ready to follow suit with Russian diplomats.

State Department Spokesman Ned Price said there were no indications that such a call between US and Russian diplomats would help decrease the violence in Ukraine.

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“It is in our assessment, not the time at the moment for a high-level call… precisely because we have seen no indication that the Russians are serious about engaging in a constructive dialogue,” Price told Al Arabiya English during a call with reporters.

Price highlighted Blinken’s efforts prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine to try to “forestall what may well have been an inevitability the whole time.”

Leaving the door open to diplomacy, Price said any dialogue needs to have the potential for a constructive outcome. “In this case, the ultimate overriding objective is a diminution of violence in Ukraine, leading to an end of this brutal war of aggression, this brutal war of choice.”

Price added: “If we feel that a conversation has the potential to save lives, of course, we won’t hesitate to do that.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley had a call with his Russian counterpart on Thursday, the first such call since the invasion.

This came after last week’s call between Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his counterpart in the Kremlin, also the first between the two since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A deconfliction hotline was established shortly after the invasion to prevent any escalation of direct tensions between the US and Russia.

Read more: Pentagon chief speaks to Russian counterpart for first time since Feb. 18

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