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Russian, US defence ministers speak by phone

Russian officials say Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and US counterpart Lloyd Austin have spoken over the phone.

March 16, 2023
16 March 2023

The Russian and US defence ministers have held a phone call, the Russian defence ministry says, a day after a US military drone crashed over the Black Sea in an incident the US called “unsafe” and “reckless”.

Russia said the request for the call came from the United States but provided no other details of the conversation between Sergei Shoigu and his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin.

The call came after officials in Russia and the US accused each other in the crash of a US military surveillance drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday.

The US said Russian jets hits the propeller of the drone while Russia says no contact was made and blamed “sharp manoeuvring” by the US aircraft for the incident.

Contact between senior Russian and US officials has been rare in the year since Russia invaded Ukraine, with relations between the two sides having plummeted to their lowest in decades.

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