US defense secretary spoke to Russian counterpart for first time since Feb. 18 and urged "immediate ceasefire"

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with his Russian counterpart for the first time on Friday since before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Pentagon announced reports.

“On May 13, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu for the first time since February 18," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Austin "urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication," Kirby said.

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