Dunford: Talks With Russia Focus on Deconfliction

The US and Russia will work together in the minimum way to deconflict operations over Syria and to establish a communication line to use in the event of a crisis, but current law prevents any additional work, the top US uniformed officer said Thursday. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford said Thursday that he agreed to not speak publicly about the details of his conversation with his Russian counterpart last week in Azerbaijan, to avoid any “politicization” of their talk. The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act explicitly prohibits bilateral military-to-military cooperation with Russia until that country ceases its occupation of Ukrainian territory. However, the US and Russia must talk productively to “mitigate the risk of miscalculation, and open lines of communication” in the event of a crisis, Dunford said Thursday at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.