The Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told a conference at the Pentagon on Friday that the line of conflict established this week between the United States and Russia was a “bilateral conflict from the United States to Russia.”
This line is administered by the U.S. European Command under General Dodd Walters, Commander of the U.S. European Command.
“It’s managed to be a bilateral obstacle to the United States and Russia, which is why it is handled from the U.S. European command headquarters and not by General Walters under his NATO cap,” Kirby said.
“Reduce the risks of miscalculations and, if necessary, communicate in real time, especially since Ukraine’s airspace is now competing with Russian and Ukrainian aircraft,” Kirby said.
The telephone connection is “at a low level of functionality,” Kirby said.
“It’s basically staffed by staff at the European Command Headquarters,” he continued.
More Background: A senior U.S. defense official told reporters Friday that the deconfusion phone line set up this week between the United States and Russia was working on its initial setup.
The official said the telephone connection worked during an initial US test call to Russia.
“It’s in place, the Russians agreed to it, in our initial test, they answered the phone, so we know they know who’s calling, and at least, based on its initial launch. Until then, it worked, they answered the line,” Said the officer.
The establishment of this agreement is particularly noteworthy because Pentagon officials have stated that they had no direct contact with Russian allies after the invasion.
Attempts to establish a communication path have been underway since the end of last month. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last spoke with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on February 18. The two spoke a week ago. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Millie last spoke with Russian General Staff Chief General Valery Gerasimo on 11 February.
The United States has rejected any no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying it would put US pilots in a state of war to carry out such a plan. But the door to a possible air-to-human corridor in the future has not been closed and officials say the war will be halted to ensure safe relief supplies can fly.
Syria has had a protocol of conflict for years between US and Russian forces. Although U.S. officials complained on several occasions and the Russians did not provide adequate advance warning of their actions, for the most part it worked. The United States has not provided detailed information to Russia, but recently informed them of when US aircraft will operate in northeastern Syria.