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British, Russian Military Chiefs Confer On Avoiding Potential Incidents

Britain sent military escorts when Russia's sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, sailed through the English Channel last year.

Senior Russian and British military officials have held rare talks in Moscow aimed at avoiding clashes and lowering tensions that have spiked to their highest levels since the Cold War.

Russia's armed-forces deputy chief of staff Aleksandr Zhuravlyov and his British counterpart, vice chief of staff Gordon Messenger, "discussed the state and prospects for re-establishing military cooperation," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Relations between Russia and Britain have deteriorated in the wake of Moscow's 2014 seizure of Crimea from Ukraine and its 2015 military intervention in Syria.

The Russian ministry said the talks focused on "possible steps to lower tensions, develop mutual trust, and prevent incidents during military activities."

Britain's Ministry of Defense called the meeting "an important opportunity in terms of managing risk and avoiding miscalculation."

"They discussed military issues including opportunities to reduce risks in the conduct of our respective defense activity," it said.

Britain has been one of the strongest critics of Russian aggression in Ukraine and has sent troops to eastern Europe to bolster NATO's presence in the region.

British jets have also repeatedly been scrambled in recent months due to increased Russian maneuvers near Britain.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters