US and Russian militaries are in contact through "distending line"

The war in Ukraine has prompted the US and Russian militaries to set up a new telephone channel, known as a “de-escalation line,” which is supposed to be used only in emergency situations, the Pentagon announced Friday.

This line, enabled “a few days ago”, directly connects the US command in Europe with the Russian Defense Ministry, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby reported.

“We know it works,” he said. “When we tried it, they picked it up.”

The Pentagon spokesman however refused to say whether this channel was used when the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, some 150 kilometers north of the Crimean peninsula, was bombed overnight in attacks attributed to Russia.

“If there was a situation where we needed to communicate with the Defense Ministry on a pressing case, I suppose we would use it,” he said only, adding that he hopes the Russian military will do the same.

A similar channel of communication had already been established between the two countries during the war in Syria, in which Moscow gave military support to President Bashar al-Assad’s troops.

This process is reminiscent of the “hotline” of the Cold War, created in 1963 after the Cuban missile crisis and which allowed the White House and the Kremlin to communicate directly.

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