US and Russian Defence Chiefs Hold Rare Call Amid Rising Tensions Over Crimea Attack

In a rare conversation amid heightened tensions, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Russian Defence Minister Andrei Belousov spoke by telephone on Tuesday. This marks the first call between the two powers since March 2023, initiated by Austin, according to Pentagon spokesperson Patrick Ryder.

The conversation comes after Moscow blamed Washington for a deadly Ukraine attack on Russian-annexed Crimea over the weekend. The two sides provided starkly different accounts of the discussion. While Austin sought to address the ongoing conflict, Russia’s defense ministry claimed Belousov warned Austin about the dangers of continued US arms supplies to Ukraine.

In a significant move, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Russia’s former defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, and its military chief of staff, Valery Gerasimov, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for attacking civilian targets in Ukraine. Ukraine welco