Home Europe Russia, U.S. Defence Ministers Talk; Moscow Warns West Of ‘Fatal’ Consequences

Russia, U.S. Defence Ministers Talk; Moscow Warns West Of ‘Fatal’ Consequences

The U.S. Secretary of Defence speaks to his new Russian counterpart for the first time. Both sides have different readouts on the tone and tenor of the conversation.


Russia-U.S. Talks
The U.S. and Russian Defence Ministers spoke on the telephone on Tuesday in rare communication between the two powers. Tension has been rising after Moscow blamed Washington for a deadly Ukraine attack over the weekend in Crimea. But, the two sides gave widely divergent accounts of the Russia-U.S. talks. This is the first conversation between U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Russia’s new Defence Minister Andrei Belousov. He replaced Sergei Shoigu in May. Austin initiated the conversation. Maj Gen Patrick Ryder, the U.S. Pentagon Spokesperson said, “The last time Secretary Austin spoke to his Russian counterpart, then-Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu, was on March 15th, 2023.”

Russia’s Defence Ministry, however, said that Belousov warned Austin of the dangers of continued U.S. arms supplies to Ukraine in the 28-month-old war. Relations between Moscow and Washington have plunged to their lowest since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Diplomatic contacts between President Vladimir Putin’s government and President Joe Biden’s administration are now at “an absolute minimum,” Moscow said last week.

Russia-Ukraine Swap POWs
In other developments, Russia and Ukraine swapped prisoners of war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed the return of 90 POWs in the latest of several periodic swaps. Ukraine said the returnees include soldiers who defended the Azovstal steel mill in a three-month siege in 2022. Others were taken prisoner when Russian forces briefly seized the defunct Chornobyl nuclear power station.

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Russia’s Defence Ministry also released footage of 90 Russian servicemen. They were flown in to Moscow for treatment and rehabilitation. The ministry too acknowledged the UAE for its mediation. The Emirati foreign ministry said the mediation succeeded because the UAE leveraged “its distinct ties and partnership with both sides, including as a reliable mediator among both parties.”

Russia Warns West Of “Fatal Consequences”
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has warned the West if it underestimates Moscow’s resolve then it could lead to “tragic and fatal” consequences. This he said is because the United States and its allies are confronting a major nuclear power. Ryabkov said that the West underestimated “Russia’s readiness to stand up for itself and ensure its own interests in any situation.”

ICC Arrest Warrants
Before the Russia-U.S. talks, on Tuesday, the International Criminal Court separately issued arrest warrants for Sergei Shoigu, the former Russian Defence minister. And leading General Valery Gerasimov for alleged crimes committed during the invasion of Ukraine. The Russian Security Council dismissed the move as “part of the hybrid war of the West against the Russian Federation”. Putin himself was slapped with an arrest warrant in March 2023, a move which has limited his ability to travel abroad.

(With Reuters Inputs)

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The 'Eye' of the story not the 'I' of the story. That's Amitabh Pashupati Revi's credo from the beginning of his professional journey in 1995. From conflicts in the war zones of Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq to nuances of international politics in the Maldives,Thailand, and South Sudan, Amitabh has reported from all the world's continents, except for Antarctica(so far). Though, he has documented the world's third pole, the Siachen Glacier!
Amitabh reports and produces documentaries on the two-front China-Pakistan threat to India. His ground reports from Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh have received viewership in the hundreds of thousands. Amitabh has interviewed world leaders, top global analysts, and experts in India, Russia, the United States, and Australia as well. Along the way, he’s picked up the Russian language, the Ramnath Goenka Award for his reporting on the 'Islamic State' terrorist group in Iraq, the Khaled Alkhateb Award for his reporting from Palmyra, Syria, and the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Distinguished Journalist Fellowship. Last but not least, as a founder member of StratNews Global, Amitabh helps lead the reporting, editorial, production, and administration teams at StratNews Global, BharatShakti, and InterStellar on their journey ahead.