Defense Secretary Austin speaks with Russian defense minister for first time in months, urges ceasefire

The call between Austin and his Russian counterpart is the first since Feb. 18, according to Kirby. It’s also the first since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, which has now lasted 79 dae.

Secretary Austin urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication,” Kirby gesê.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin testifies before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense during a hearing for the Fiscal Year 2023 Departement van Verdediging, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Mei 11.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin testifies before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense during a hearing for the Fiscal Year 2023 Departement van Verdediging, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Mei 11. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)

FORMER WAGNER GROUP MERCENARY SAYS RUSSIA ILL-PREPARED FOR WAR WITH UKRAINE

Russia’s Ministry of Defense, in a statement about the call, said the two officialsdiscussed topical international security issues, including the situation in Ukraine.

In late March, Kirby told Fox News that the Biden administration has been trying different avenues to reach the Kremlin, but to no avail.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov attend a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Rusland, op Feb.. 27.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov attend a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Rusland, op Feb.. 27. (Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS)

Then in mid-April, Shoigu – in a meeting with military officials – accused the United States and other Western countries of trying to “vertraging” the course of the war in Ukraine by sending shipments of weapons to Kyiv’s military.

Increasing volumes of foreign arms deliveries clearly demonstrate their intentions to provoke the Kyiv regime to fight to the last Ukrainian,” Shoigu said at the time.

Amerikaanse. Lloyd Austin, minister van verdediging, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pose for a picture during their meeting on April 24 in Kyiv, Oekraïne.

Amerikaanse. Lloyd Austin, minister van verdediging, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pose for a picture during their meeting on April 24 in Kyiv, Oekraïne. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense said Thursday that as the war drags on, Russia’s withdrawal of troops from a Ukrainian region that they encircled at the beginning of the war is proving theirinability to capture key Ukrainian cities.

Fox News’ Liz Friden and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

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