WASHINGTON, March 27. /TASS/. Russia and the UK should keep up all the channels of communications open at this period of time to prevent a further deterioration of the crisis, the visiting UK Vice-Chief of Defense Staff, General Gordon Messenger said on Tuesday answering questions from TASS at a meeting with the Defense Writers Group in Washington.
When Gen Messenger answered a question on whether contacts between the Russian and UK Armed Forces could help surmount the current aggravated tensions, he said: "So I guess it's a really good point. And I think that particularly at times when tensions are as high as they are, maintaining channels of communication is a really important thing. And I think that mil-mil has a very special place in that."
"I don't think those channels should be solely mil-mil, I think it's important to keep the diplomatic and leadership channels open," Gen Messenger said.
"We are very keen to keep senior mil-mil channels open, particularly at this difficult time," he went on. "As you say I met with General [Alexander] Zhuravlyov, I've spoken to him on the phone a couple of times. Since he's now moved on, we are looking to see who is the most appropriate interlocutor now that he has moved on."
"It's important because what we don't want is miscalculation or misunderstanding," Gen Messenger said.
"You know we have eight hundred troops in Estonia as part of NATO's enhanced forward presence," he said. "We have annually either in the Baltic or in Romania Typhoons flying on air policing. We fly our intelligence aircraft in Europe and the Baltic Sea. And, of course, we [the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation - TASS] are both involved in very different ways in the Syrian conflict."
"So we think that those sorts of channels are important and should be maintained and there should be means of picking up the phone and talking to each other rather than misinterpret and then potentially miscalculate," Gen Messenger said.