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US, Russian defense chiefs speak as Ukraine tensions simmer

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Washington (AFP) – US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had a rare phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Thursday about upcoming talks between the two sides in Geneva over Moscow’s military buildup on the Ukrainian border, the Pentagon said. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the two discussed “risk reduction near Ukraine’s borders,” amid continuing worries in the United States and Western Europe that Russian could invade its pro-Western neighbor. Moscow has amassed tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border, and the Kremlin has made clear it wants guarantees that Kyiv…

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