US Chief of Staff Mark Milley has called his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov for the first time since Russia launched an attack on Ukraine. A spokesman for the US General Staff said on Thursday that the talks between the two highest-ranking generals in both countries were about “important security-related issues,” without giving any further details.

US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said: “We believe it is important that the lines of communication are open.” It is not known what made Gerasimov accept the invitation to the meeting. However, Kirby made it clear that the US did not assume that the Russian position in the war against Ukraine had changed.

Last week, the US and Russian defense ministers, Lloyd Austin and Sergei Shoigu, spoke for the first time since Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began on February 24. According to the Pentagon, Austin called for an “immediate ceasefire” in Ukraine and emphasized the need to keep communication channels open.

Austin and Shoigu last spoke on February 18 – just under a week before the start of the Russian invasion of the neighboring country.