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Why did Pentagon chief phone Russian counterpart?

On June 25 US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin telephoned Russian Minister of Defense Andrew Belousov. It was the first contact between the US and Russian defense heads in more than a year and it was initiated by Austin. Was the conversation useful?

There is very little information about the content of the call. Both the Pentagon and the Russian Ministry of Defense have given very brief accounts, but the two accounts do not align with each other.

US readout

According to the Pentagon Austin emphasized the “importance of maintaining lines of communication.” This came after a US ATACMS missile hit a beach in Sevastopol, Crimea.

In the wake of the attack the US Ambassador to Moscow, Lynne Tracy, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry. According to news reports the Russians formally warned the ambassador that retaliation would follow from the Crimea attack.

After that there were reports among Russian mil bloggers that the Russians had shot down a US Global Hawk drone over the Black Sea. However, the US said that its drone supposedly involved in the targeting, identified as an RQ-4 Global Hawk, had returned safely to Sigonella (Sicily).

The US has had very minimal contact with Russia and only on specific issues including potential exchanges of political prisoners. On the whole, the American position has been to isolate Russia and not hold any dialog on Ukraine or other security issues.

Before the Crimea attack Ukraine launched two drone attacks on Russian strategic early warning radar stations. Such attacks would have required US/NATO targeting assistance including evasion tactics to avoid Russian air defenses. Unlike the US, which has satellite early warning capabilities, the Russians depend on land based radars that