Austin used the first call between the two in 84 days to urge Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to implement an “immediate ceasefire,” according to a brief readout of the call. The two last spoke on February 18, a week before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
It ends an extended period in which Russia’s top military leaders repeatedly refused to speak with their American counterparts.
On March 24, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley “have sought, and continue to seek” phone calls with Shoigu and the Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the top Russian general, but the Russians “have so far declined to engage.”
Following the call between Austin and Shoigu, Milley is also expected to reach out to his Russian counterpart to see if it’s possible to schedule a call, a defense official tells CNN, but there is no conversation currently on the schedule.
The two have not spoken since February 11, one week before the last call between Austin and Shoigu.
This story is breaking and will be updated.