Russian, US defense chiefs discuss Middle East crisis

Saturday, 2020-01-11 14:21:08
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Burning debris are seen on a road near Baghdad International Airport, which according to Iraqi paramilitary groups were caused by three rockets hitting the airport in Iraq, January 3, 2020. (Source: Iraqi Security Media Cell via Reuters)
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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed the situation in the Middle East with US Defense Secretary Mark Esper during a phone conversation, the Russian Defense Ministry said Friday (January 10).

"The situation in the Middle East region was discussed," the ministry said in a statement.

Tensions soared in the Middle East after a US airstrike near Baghdad International Airport on January 3 killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

Iran fired missiles on January 8 in retaliation, striking military bases which house US troops in Iraq's western province of Anbar.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted afterwards that "we do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."

US President Donald Trump said that no US casualties resulted from Iran's missile attack, adding that the United States would impose additional sanctions against Tehran.

Xinhua