General Mark Milley, the highest US military official, spoke by phone with Russia’s Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov on Thursday, the Pentagon said, the first communication between the two since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
“The military officials addressed various security-related matters of concern and decided to keep the lines of communication open,” said a spokesperson for Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States.
“In accordance with prior practice,” the official continued, “the precise specifics of their talk will be kept confidential.”
The US military readout made no note of any specific concerns mentioned.
According to the Russian defense ministry and RIA news agency, the two military chiefs addressed subjects of “common interest,” including Ukraine.
The appeal came after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with his Russian counterpart last week and advocated for an urgent cease-fire in Ukraine.
Since the invasion, which Moscow refers to as a “special military operation,” began on February 24, the US and Russia have established a hotline to avoid miscalculation and escalation of the war.
The “deconfliction” hotline is a live phone line established at the European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, and is overseen by Air Force General Tod Wolters, who commands all US troops in Europe.
Wolters said in Brussels on Thursday that he thought the call between Milley and Gerasimov brought Ukraine one step closer to a diplomatic settlement.
Still, more than two months after the start of Russia’s invasion, which has left thousands dead or maimed, towns and cities in ruins, and more than 5 million people fleeing abroad, there appears to be little diplomatic movement.