The communication phone line between the US and Russia connects the American military’s European Command and Russia’s National Defense Management Center, and historically communication lines between the two countries were maintained during the Cold War. Information concerning a call during the Ukraine war comes from a US official, it has been reported.
The source told Reuters that the United States initiated the call to express its concerns about Russia’s military operations near critical infrastructure in Ukraine.
However, few details are known about the specific details of the call.
They did confirm that an official call between the two nations was not used when a missile landed in Poland earlier this month, killing two Polish farm workers.
There are certain well-known areas where Russia have been fighting that have caused international concern as the war progresses.
Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is currently under Russian occupation and the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog have called for fighting to stop near the plant to prevent a nuclear accident.
Both Ukraine and Russia accused each other of shelling the plant, which is the biggest nuclear plant in Europe.
Igor Kirillov from the Russian nuclear protection corps said shelling has already damaged the nuclear plant’s support systems, which means a pump or generator failure could lead to the reactor core overheating and the plant being destroyed.
Professor Claire Corkhill, an expert in nuclear material degradation from the University of Sheffield, said a nuclear reaction “wouldn’t be as serious as Chernobyl”.
However, the professor added: “It could still lead to a release of radioactivity and that depends which way the wind’s blowing.”
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The communication line between Russia and the USA was announced this year in March, and the Pentagon said it was created in order to avoid clashes in NATO territory or airspace.
A senior US Defense official said at the time said: “It’s not meant to be an all-purpose complaint line where we can just pick up the phone and register concerns about what Russia’s doing in Ukraine.”
A source has told Reuters that the communication is line is tested twice daily with calls taken in Russian and operated from the US European Command initiates in Wiesbaden, Germany.
US officials sources have also previously said that when the invasion in Ukraine first began, the communication line may be useful if the United States needed to evacuate American citizens from Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine.
When the war began in February, it was speculated that Russia would quickly invade Ukraine and capture territory, which could have trapped people inside the area before they could leave.
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Another anonymous US official has also speculated the communication could be used if a Russian or Ukrainian aircraft flies into Poland, a NATO country, or if a Russian missile goes into NATO airspace.
The former US ambassador to Russia and NATO official, Alexander Vershbow, has said the hotline was meant to be used to focus on daily operations as opposed to more strategic conservations.
He drew a comparison to the communication line for Syria, where both Russian and US forces occasionally operate in their territory.
Mr Vershbow said: “We’ve seen this in Syria, where having the direct operational channel can at least clarify intentions during a fast-moving situation where maybe Washington is asleep.”