Russia – USA: Telephone Conversation Between Defense Ministers

Dialogue between Belousov and Austin begins: keep communication channels open

Andrej Belousov

Russian Defense Minister Andrei Belousov had his first telephone conversation on June 25 with his US counterpart, United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. During the phone call, this need was emphasized to “keep bilateral channels of communication open, especially in light of the intensified conflict being waged in Ukraine.”

On May 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Belousov to head the Defense Ministry, moving his predecessor Sergei Shoigu to the Office of the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

The talks between Belousov and Austin came two days after a bloody Ukrainian missile attack on the city of Sevastopol that cost the lives of 4 civilians while another 153 were injured. For the raid, the Ukrainian armed forces used several long-range US missiles equipped with cluster heads banned by numerous international conventions.

Russian Defense Minister Belousov warned Austin that US arms deliveries to Ukraine “sharply increased the risk of further escalation of the conflict.” As the Russian press agency TASS wrote, “during the phone call, which took place at the initiative of the United States, the minister and the secretary had an exchange of views on the situation in Ukraine.”