US minimizes drone incident. Kiev says it was Russian provocation
The heads of defense for the United States and Russia, Lloyd Austin and Sergei Shoigu, spoke by phone, which happened for the first time since October, in what could be an attempt by Washington to remedy the incident related to the crash. from a drone – shot down by a Russian fighter, according to the US – in the waters of the Black Sea. Ukraine, on the other hand, believes that what happened is a message from Vladimir Putin that he is willing to “expand the conflict”.
“I will not speak for Minister Shoigu or go into the details of our discussion. I will just reiterate that the United States will fly and act where international law allows. We take any potential for escalation very seriously, so I believe it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. I think this will help prevent the miscalculations from continuing,” said Austin, who chaired the 10th Ramstein-format meeting, in which defense ministers from 30 NATO allies and 14 other countries participated to coordinate military assistance to Ukraine. .
US Chief of Staff General Mark Milley said he also looks forward to speaking with his Russian counterpart, Valery Gerasimov. Questioned by journalists, Milley declined to comment on whether the collision was an “act of war” by Moscow. “We are not looking for a conflict with Russia.” In the same vein, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the incident was “probably unintentional”.
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