Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu called on U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel over the phone on Monday to help "tone down the rhetoric" addressing the Ukraine situation, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a press release.
"When commenting on Hagel's remarks about the allegedly continuing "massing" of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine and "destabilizing exercises", the Russian minister called on his counterpart to help "tone down the rhetoric" as much as possible. He [Shoigu] categorically denied unfounded claims about the presence of Russian sabotage and reconnaissance groups in Ukrainian territory that are allegedly destabilizing the situation in the southeastern regions [of Ukraine]," it said.
During the telephone conversation, "the sides sincerely exchanged concerns over the tense situation in Ukraine," the ministry said.
"They discussed the problematic situations stemming both the American Armed Forces' activities in the vicinity of the Russian borders and the overall increase in NATO's military activity in Eastern Europe. The ministers also exchanged their visions of possible ways to ease the military tensions in the regions," it said.
In addition to that, Shoigu announced his readiness for contacts with all the sides concerned as part of efforts to de-escalate the crisis and spoke in favor of holding constructive dialogue and looking for compromises in line with the April 17 Geneva agreements, it said.
"The ministers agreed to keep in touch on the matter," the ministry said.
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