Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been trying to get Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on the phone the past 24 hours, but has been unable to reach him, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Friday. “We have reached out to the Russians and made it very clear to them that the Secretary is willing to speak to his counterpart there at any time.” He wants to tell them that they need to withdraw their troops from the Ukrainian border to their garrisons. “Now we are waiting to hear from the Russians,” he said.
The Russian Defense Ministry denied receiving a notice that Hagel wished to speak with Shoigu and were surprised to hear about this from the press.
Thursday, the Russian minister announced fresh military maneuvers near the Ukraine border in response to ongoing NATO training exercises in Poland and the death of two pro-Russian insurgents in armed action by the provisional government in Kiev.