After months of refusing, breakthrough talks took place between the US defense minister and Russia.
Sergei Shoigu spent an hour talking with Lloyd Austin, US defense secretary, who, according the Pentagon, demanded an “immediate cessation of hostilities”.
Austin stated that even though the call didn’t resolve any “acute problems”, it was an important step to keep communication lines open.
The conversation was initiated by Mr Austin and marked the highest-ranking American contact with a Russian official ever since the war began in February.
In recent months, Pentagon officials repeatedly stated that Russian leaders declined to receive calls from General Mark Milley and Mr Austin, the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Friday’s conversation was hours after Lloyd spoke to Ben Wallace, the UK Defence Secretary, in Washington to discuss next steps for Ukraine. The Ukrainian forces have been fighting them for 79 days.
The Ukrainian military claims that it is making even more gains. During a battle for a Donbas river, it claimed to have destroyed at most 73 Russian tanks and other equipment.
Ukrainian forces released footage that showed several burned-out military vehicles as well as segments of a bridge partially submerged following the battle over the Siversky Donets River, Bilohorivka.
According to the MoD, Russia lost at least one battalion tactical unit’s armoured manoeuvre elements in the attack.
An estimated 1,000 troops make up a Russian battalion tactical unit.
The ministry stated in its daily intelligence update that river crossings in contested environments are a risky maneuver and speaks to the pressure Russian commanders are under for their operations in eastern Ukraine.
Other important developments:
* Russian soldier is tried in the first case of war crimes against Ukraine
According to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, the European Commission plans to lift EU competition rules in order to allow governments to set prices in the event that Russia’s gas supplies are cut off completely.
* Germany starts training Ukrainian soldiers how to use the self-propelled 155mm howitzer
Report claims that Russian agents believe Putin is terminally ill after receiving a top-secret memo.
* EU pledges EUR500m (PS424m), more military aid to Ukraine, and declares that an embargo on Russian oil will soon be lifted
In his nightly address to his country, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zilenskyy also highlighted significant military achievements.
He stated that his troops had destroyed the 200th Russian plane of war, and he also noted Russia’s heavy losses in tanks and armoured vehicles as well as helicopters, drones, and helicopters.
He claimed that Russia had lost 27,000 soldiers since the beginning of the war.
He reiterated his appeal to the world for sanctions to be applied to Russia and for economic and technical support for Ukraine .
He stated, “This is the only way to protect freedom from the Russian invasion.”
This isn’t just an expense for Western countries. It’s not about accounting; it’s about the future.