ANALYSIS: That’s how important the conversation is – after the drone crash

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US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin confirms that the US spoke with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday. The call comes after yesterday’s collision between the Russian warplane and the American drone over the Black Sea. On the occasion of the conversation, TV4 Nyhetern’s foreign affairs commentator Lisa Grenfors lists three points about what it could mean and have consequences for. 1. Why is the phone call between the US and Russian defense ministers receiving attention? The background is the serious incident on Tuesday when an American drone crashed in the Black Sea after a Russian fighter jet got at a propeller on the drone, according to US data. The incident is considered the most serious confrontation between the two superpowers since the war in Ukraine began. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Russian colleague Sergei Shoigu had not spoken to each other since October until today. 2. What is the significance of the phone call? Due to the seriousness and nature of the incident, it became necessary for the defense ministers to be consulted and it was the American who called. According to the Pentagon, Austin wanted to call Shoigu to clear the air. But the conversation may unofficially have had a polite, perhaps good, tone. We don’t know that. But in public, the past 24 hours have been marked by a heightened Russian rhetoric and denial of having caused the drone crash. At the same time, the telephone conversation can be seen in a different light: in international contexts, dialogue is usually regarded as something positive. It is when leaders do not speak to each other at all that it can become dangerous. 3. Will the US stop flying drones over the Black Sea now? The short answer is no. Both the United States and Ukraine claim the drone was flying in international airspace, and Austin said at today’s press conference that the United States intends to continue flying wherever international law allows. The United States and Ukraine have said that the information collected by drones around Russian military ships and submarines in the Black Sea is shared, and thus it is important for both to have the information for the defense of Ukraine.