Washington (The Times Groupe)- The Pentagon announced that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke for the first time with Russian Defense Secretary Sergey Shoygu since Moscow began its war against Ukraine.
A statement released by Austin’s spokesman said Austin “called for a ceasefire in Ukraine immediately and stressed the importance of maintaining communication.”
Austin did not provide additional details on the conversation.
Austin and Shoygu last spoke on Feb. 18, six days before Russia invaded its eastern neighbor.
According to UN estimates, 3,573 civilians have been killed and 3,816 others injured during the Russian war, which started on Feb. 24. It is believed that the actual death toll will be much higher.
Approximately 7.7 million people have been displaced internally, with more than 6 million fleeing to other countries, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).