Despite recent calls between the Pentagon chief and the top US military general with their Russian counterparts, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top US diplomats are not ready to follow the lead of Russian diplomats.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said there was no indication that such a call between US and Russian diplomats would help defuse the violence in Ukraine.
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“In our assessment, it is not the time right now for a high-level call… precisely because we have not seen any indication that the Russians are serious about engaging in a constructive dialogue,” Price told Al Arabiya English during a call with reporters. .
Price highlighted Blinken’s efforts before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to try to “prevent what may well have been inevitable all along.”
Price left the door open for diplomacy, saying any dialogue must have the potential for a constructive outcome. “In this case, the ultimate overriding goal is a de-escalation of violence in Ukraine, leading to an end to this brutal war of aggression, this brutal war of choice.”
Added Price: “If we believe that a conversation has the potential to save lives, of course, we will not hesitate to do so.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley had a call with his Russian counterpart on Thursday, the first such call since the invasion.
This came after last week’s call between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Kremlin counterpart, also the first between the two since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Shortly after the invasion, a direct de-escalation line was established to prevent any escalation of direct tensions between the US and Russia.
Read more: The Pentagon chief speaks with his Russian counterpart for the first time since February 18