Moscow and Washington are expected to discuss expanding joint military exercises, the two countries said Wednesday, in a sign of deepening tensions between the two sides over Ukraine and Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly called for a political solution to the conflict in Ukraine, a move that has further damaged the global order and the credibility of Russia.
The U.S. and its European allies have called for an immediate ceasefire.
The two countries have also repeatedly denied each other’s assertions that Moscow has invaded Ukraine.
A senior Russian military officer told reporters that Washington and Moscow will discuss the possibility of holding an expanded military exercise in the coming days.
“There will be a joint military exercise, and it will be the first time since the end of the Cold War that we will see an exercise like this,” he said.
“We will discuss whether this exercise will be conducted in Russia, in our country or in any other.”
The U: Russian military commander in Syria said in an interview with the state-run Rossiya 24 news agency that Moscow was ready to participate in a joint operation in Syria, the Russian news agency Sputnik reported.
“In case we can fight the terrorists, we will fight them,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, using an acronym for the Islamic State militant group.
“What I say is that if we need to, we would be ready to go.”
The comments came as Russia said it had launched a new offensive against the Islamic STATE in the eastern province of Deir ez-Zor.
The Russian military has also reported that Russian special forces have captured key positions in the city of al-Raqqah.
Russia and Iran, which are also backing opposing sides in the conflict, have been in conflict since 2014.