Pentagon on Milley Proposal: US-Russia Military Contacts Limited to Syria Deconfliction
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Coordination between US and Russian troops is limited to deconfliction in Syria as "a matter of policy and law" due to the situation in Ukraine, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Friday in response to a question about US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley's comments.
Earlier in the day, Milley said that Washington should explore the possibility of expanding new military contacts with Russia, including potentially allowing observers at combat drills.
"Our communications with Russian military counterparts are limited to just over a dozen engagements that reduce the risk of miscalculation or deconflict military operations, and such senior leader discussions as on Syria, for instance, where the US-led coalition maintains air-and-ground deconfliction channels with the Russian military," Kirby said during a press briefing.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has full confidence in Milley, he added.
"Secretary has every confidence that the Chairman will continue to communicate and deconflict with the Russian military as appropriate inside those limits," Kirby said.
He also noted that Milley well understands those restrictions.
Milley and his Russian counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov, held an in-person meeting in Finland on Wednesday at which the sides discussed issues of mutual interest. He told reporters later that Washington might look into allowing the military chiefs to form stronger ties with their Russian counterparts.
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