Saturday, April 1, 2023

Ukraine war: US and Russia military chiefs in rare talks after drone downing – Usky News

WASHINGTON/KYV: The crash of a US surveillance drone after it was intercepted by a Russian jet showed Moscow’s increasingly aggressive behavior, Washington’s top general said, while Russia warned Washington that flying the drone near Crimea could escalate tensions. Could
Defense ministers and military chiefs, a day after a US drone went down over the Black Sea America and Russia With relations at their lowest point in decades over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the rare telephonic conversation took place on Wednesday.
Moscow’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told his American counterpart, Lloyd AustinA ministry statement said the US drone flights over the coast of Crimea “were of a provocative nature” and could “lead to an escalation in the Black Sea region”. Crimea is a peninsula that was part of Ukraine until Moscow annexed it by force in 2014.
Russia, the statement said, was “not interested in such a development, but would react in the future in appropriate proportion” and that both countries should “act with maximum responsibility”, including military lines of communication in crisis. Are.
Austin declined to offer any details of the call — including whether he criticized the Russian interception.
But he reiterated at a news conference that the US intends to continue flying where international law allows and called for Russian military aircraft to be operated in a safe and professional manner.
Austin appeared before reporters at the Pentagon with General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who held a separate call with Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.
trading charges
the US military has said two Russian Su-27 fighter plane approached it MQ-9 Reaper Drone During a reconnaissance mission in the international waters of the Black Sea on Tuesday. The fighter jets harassed the drone and sprayed fuel on it before cutting off the drone’s propeller, causing it to crash into the sea.
According to Russia, there was no collision. The drone crashed after making a “sharp manoeuvre”, flying “deliberately and provocatively” close to Russian airspace. Moscow had landed its fighters to identify it.
“There is a pattern of behavior recently where there is a little more aggressive action by the Russians,” Milley told reporters, adding that it was unclear whether the Russian pilots intended to attack the drone.
Earlier, State Department spokesman Ned Price told MSNBC that the incident was an unintentional act by Russia.
While fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian forces continued in eastern Ukraine, Tuesday’s drone incident was the first known direct US-Russia encounter since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine nearly a year ago.
Russia said the episode showed the US was directly participating in ukraine warsomething the West has gone to great pains to avoid.
“The Americans have been saying that they are not participating in military operations. This is the latest confirmation that they are directly participating in these activities,” said Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Kremlin’s Security Council.
The United States has supported Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars in military aid, but says its troops have not been directly involved in the war, which Moscow portrays as a struggle against the combined might of the West.
Kiev, for its part, said the drone crash showed Moscow was ready to expand the conflict zone to draw in other countries.
Bakhmut fighting continues
On the ground in Ukraine, Russia continued its push to capture the small eastern town of Bakhmut and score its first major victory in more than half a year. Milley said Russia is making small advances near Bakhmut, but paying a huge price.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that his military top officials had advised him to reinforce Bakhmut.
Kiev appeared to be preparing to pull out of the city last month but has since decided to defend it, saying it is tiring out Russia’s invading forces to pave the way for its own counter-offensive .
North of Bakhmut, Ukrainian soldiers in a bombed village near the town of Kremina were struggling to combat what they said was an attempt by Russia to launch a massive pincer move.
“The Russians try to adapt in real time,” said a member of a drone unit called “Zara”. “This poses big problems for us, because we have to think a few steps ahead – how to successfully complete the mission and not let the enemy know how we did it.”
Further south, in the Ukrainian-held town of Avdiivka, police in the Donetsk region released video showing civilians being evacuated, including 9-year-old Daryana and her parrot, Lemon.
When asked by a female policewoman how long has it been since she was in the city, Darina said that it has been 10 months.
“I dream of an early end to the war,” said Dariana, wearing a bright orange bulletproof vest and helmet.


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