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US And Russian Def Mins Hold Call Following Drone Incident


Russia's Interfax news agency reporting that US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu have held a call, initiated by Austin, to discuss the downing of a US drone over the Black Sea yesterday.

  • The incident, the first reported physical contact between Russian and US militaries since the war in Ukraine began, raised the prospect that an escalation of conflict could come about through miscalculation. A call between the two defence ministers may help cool tensions.
  • Austin said ahead of a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group today: "This hazardous episode is a part of a pattern of aggressive, and risky, and unsafe actions by Russian pilots in international airspace."
  • Austin: "The United States will continue to fly and to operate wherever international law allows. And it is incumbent upon Russia to operate its military aircraft in a safe and professional manner."
  • US Senator Roger Wicker (R-MI) said in a statement yesterday: "This incident should serve as a wake-up call to isolationists in the United States that it is in our national interest to treat Putin as the threat he truly is."

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