The United States and Russia have established a direct communication link, known as a deconfliction line, to avoid any misunderstanding between the two militaries as the U.S. moves forces toward Europe’s eastern flank in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The United States retains a number of channels to discuss critical security issues with the Russians during a contingency or emergency,” a senior defense official said Thursday. “The Department of the Defense recently established a deconfliction line with the Russian Ministry of Defense on March 1 for the purposes of preventing miscalculation, military incidents, and escalation,” the official said.
The Pentagon said earlier this week that it was seeking to establish such a line but Russia didn’t initially respond to the request. European allies also said they sought to establish such a line.
U.S. European Command, which is responsible for U.S. military operations in the region, will be in charge of the American side of the line, the officials said.
The U.S. has a similar form of communication for military operations in Syria, including air operations. Russia supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while the U.S. operates in the eastern part of the country to combat the Islamic State.