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US JCS chairman, chief of RF General Staff agree tensions over Ukraine must be eased

General Martin Dempsey and General of the Army Valery Gerasimov held a telephone conversation

WASHINGTON, April 26 /ITAR-TASS/. The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey and chief of Russia’s General Staff General of the Army Valery Gerasimov held a telephone conversation on Friday to confirm there is a need for easing tensions over Ukraine, the US Department of Defense said. Also, according to the Pentagon, Dempsey and Gerasimov agreed that mistakes should be avoided and contacts maintained.

As the Pentagon specified, Dempsey voiced serious fears over Russia’s policies, which, he said, Washington found risky.

The Russian Defence Ministry’s press office told Itar-Tass earlier Gerasimov asked Dempsey to take measures to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and on the Russian border. The chief of Russia’s General Staff expressed concern over the situation in the south of Ukraine. He recalled that on April 22 the new Ukrainian leadership launched an active phase of the military operation, which has already caused fatalities. Dempsey was told that mobile border guard groups capable of staging acts of sabotage were operating on the Ukrainian side of the border with Russia and a large military group had been deployed in the area.

Also, Gerasimov pointed to an upsurge in NATO’s military activity near Russia’s borders.

“The growing presence of US aircraft and troops in the Baltic countries and Poland and of the alliance’s ships in the Black Sea is causing concern,” he said.

The chief of Russia’s General Staff briefed his US counterpart on the beginning of exercises by tactical general purpose groups in the Southern and Western military districts, as well as on plans for flights by Russian Air Force planes near the state border. Gerasimov and Dempsey discussed measures to prevent dangerous military activities in areas of military exercises. It was agreed to have more bilateral contacts whenever necessary, the Russian Defence Ministry said.