Russian and U.S. military chiefs of staff hold phone call
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MOSCOW (Reuters) -Chiefs of staff of the Russian and U.S. militaries held a telephone call, the U.S. military and RIA news agency reported on Wednesday.
Both sides provided few details of the call between Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and General Valery Gerasimov, the head of Russian's military general staff.
But the call comes as Ukraine has said that Russia is building up armed forces near its borders in a threat to the country's security.
"The two military leaders exchanged their views on issues of mutual concern," a U.S. military readout of the call said.
Similar calls between the top military officials in the United States and Russia have taken place occasionally, including one earlier this year.
Milley spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart on Wednesday as well.
Ukraine and Russia have traded blame for a spike in violence in the conflict, which Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people since 2014.
The Pentagon said that it had reached out to Russia to get more clarity and the United States was concerned about recent escalations of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.
"We are aware of Ukrainian military reports concerning Russian troop movements on Ukraine's borders. We're discussing our concerns about this increase in tensions and ceasefire violations and regional tensions with NATO allies," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
Ukraine, Western countries and NATO accuse Russia of sending troops and heavy weapons to prop up separatists. Moscow says it only provides political and humanitarian support to the rebels and says Russians fighting in Ukraine are volunteers.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow, Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Catherine Evans and Alex Richardson)
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