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Lloyd Austin urges "immediate ceasefire" in call with Russia's defense minister

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke Friday with Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu in the leaders' first conversation since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

Driving the news: Austin "urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement.

  • Austin expressed interest in keeping lines of communication open with the Russian leader, per a senior U.S. defense official, adding that the "message was received on keeping the lines open."
  • The approximately hourlong phone call was requested by the U.S. side, per the senior official.
  • The two officials last spoke on Feb. 18, the Department of Defense said.