April 14. 2024. 6:50

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Ukraine war: US and Russian military chiefs hold rare talks over downed drone

The crash of a United States surveillance drone after being intercepted by Russian jets showed Moscow’s increasingly aggressive behaviour, Washington’s top general said, while Russia warned flying drones near Crimea risked escalation.

Defence ministers and military chiefs from the US and Russia held rare telephone conversations on Wednesday, with relations at their lowest point in decades over the invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow defence minister Sergei Shoigu told US counterpart Lloyd Austin that US drone flights by Crimea’s coast were “were provocative in nature” and could lead to “an escalation in the Black Sea zone”.

Russia said it “had no interest in such a development but will, in future, react in due proportion” and the two countries should “act with a maximum of responsibility”, including by having military lines of communication in a crisis.

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Ukraine war: US and Russian military chiefs hold rare talks over downed drone


Training of Ukrainian military by Defence Forces to be sporadic and short-term, officers told

Training of Ukrainian military by Defence Forces to be sporadic and short-term, officers told

Russia aims to salvage US drone brought down in Black Sea

Russia aims to salvage US drone brought down in Black Sea

US calls on Ukraine’s allies for quick supply of weapons

US calls on Ukraine’s allies for quick supply of weapons

Mr Austin declined to offer any details of the call – including whether he criticised the Russian intercept.

He reiterated at a news conference, however, that the US intended to continue flying where international law allowed and demanded Russian military aircraft operate in a safe and professional manner.

Ex-Soviet Moldova is no longer receiving Russian gas or enduring the “blackmail” imposed by gas giant Gazprom over its difficulties in paying for supplies, the country’s energy minister said.

Victor Parlicov, speaking on Wednesday evening, said Gazprom had been providing supplies only to Moldova’s Russian-backed Transdniestria separatist region since December, with none going to central authorities in Chisinau.

He said Moldova, wedged between Ukraine and European Union member Romania, was able to secure European supplies thanks to€300 million in credits from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

But Transdniestria, he said, has never paid Gazprom for the gas it receives.

Elsewhere, Russian forces in Ukraine have kept up a push to capture the eastern city of Bakhmut and secure its first substantial victory in more than half a year.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said his military leadership had advised reinforcing Bakhmut.

US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, said Russia was making small advances near Bakhmut but at great cost.

Kyiv had appeared last month to be preparing to pull out of the city but has since decided to defend it, saying it is exhausting Russia’s attacking force there to pave the way for its own counter-attack.

To the north of Bakhmut, Ukrainian troops in a bombed out village near the city of Kreminna were battling to counter what they said was an attempt by Russia to undertake a giant pincer move. – Reuters

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