US military seeks communication line with Russia to avoid a miscalculation near Ukraine

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There has been no direct communication between the US and Russian militaries to avoid any potential miscalculations in and around Ukraine, according to two US officials. 

But as Russia continues its invasion, the US military would like to talk to the Russians about the feasibility of setting up a communications channel to notify each other of some potential air operations — especially with the two militaries within fairly close proximity.

The US has forces in Poland, while Russian forces are advancing in Ukraine.

The US is still formulating what it might want to propose. Right now, no alliance or US aircraft are flying over Ukraine. But officials envision a potential need for such a mechanism in the coming days and weeks, and it could take various forms. One could be an air exclusion or “no fly” zone to allow humanitarian aid into Ukraine, but it’s unclear how that could be enforced.

Some background: The US Defense Secretary and the Joint Chiefs Chairman have spoken with their Russian counterparts in recent weeks, but not since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to public readouts provided by their offices. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last spoke with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu on Feb. 18. The two also spoke one week earlier. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley last spoke to the Chief of Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov on Feb. 11.


Heavy fighting reported to the south of Kyiv

Ukrainian armed forces have reported heavy fighting around Vasylkiv, a city located about 18 miles south of the country's capital, Kyiv.

"Heavy fighting is currently underway in the town of Vasylkiv in the Kyiv region, where the occupiers are trying to land a landing party," the armed forces said.

Russian forces are also advancing toward Kyiv from both the north and the east.

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