According to a report by TV Zvezda, which is controlled by the Russian Defence Ministry, the call took place at the request of Milley and the two spoke about the situation in Ukraine.

The last time the two spoke by telephone was on 11 February, when Washington was warning publicly of Russian plans to invade Ukraine and was hoping its warnings would discourage Moscow from moving ahead.

“They have not spoken since then until today,” said Commander Sean Riordan, a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu held their first discussions since the war began on 13 May, with Austin urging the Russians to implement an “immediate ceasefire.”

However, a Pentagon spokesman said later that the call “didn’t specifically solve any acute issues or lead to a direct change in what the Russians are doing or what they are saying.”

The call came as Washington is stepping up its arms support for Ukraine, with a new $40 billion aid package expected to be passed by the Congress on Thursday.

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