US, Russia Defence ministers & military chiefs hold rare telephone conversations

Defence ministers and military chiefs from the US and Russia held rare telephone conversations yesterday, a day after an U.S. drone went down over the Black Sea. The Russian defence ministry in a statement said that Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, that American drone flights by Crimea’s coast were provocative in nature and could lead to an escalation in the Black Sea zone.

It said the two countries should act with a maximum of responsibility including by having military lines of communication in a crisis. According to media reports, US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley also had a separate call with Russian Russian Armed Forces chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov.

Earlier, the US military has said two Russian Su-27 fighter planes approached its MQ-9 Reaper drone on a reconnaissance mission over the Black Sea’s international waters on Tuesday. The fighters harassed the drone and sprayed fuel on it before one clipped the drone’s propeller, causing it to crash into the sea.

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