The State Department told reporters Monday that they should ask Russia for more details about a possible joint U.S.-Russia military action in Aleppo, Syria, and refused to confirm or deny Russia's claim that this action was imminent.
"I would refer you to the Russians to speak to what their defense minister said," State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said in Washington. "The United States, we have nothing to announce."
She spoke just hours after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted in the Russian press saying that the U.S. and Russia were close to launching a joint operation to defeat terrorists in Syria.
"We are now in a very active phase of negotiations with our American colleagues," he was quoted as saying, according to Reuters.
Trudeau said several times that she had no further information, and refused to confirm or deny that report.
"I have no information to share on that," she said when asked. "There is nothing to announce at this time."
Trudeau did re-confirm, however, that Secretary of State John Kerry is still trying to negotiate a deal with Russia that would see stakeholders finally live up to a ceasefire in Syria that has been violated for months. That discussion is also aimed at opening up access for humanitarian groups, and creating the conditions necessary for a political solution in Syria.
Shoigu indicated that his expectation for joint action in Aleppo was separate from the talks that Kerry is leading from the U.S. side.
"We are moving step by step closer to a plan — and I'm only talking about Aleppo here — that would really allow us to start fighting together to bring peace so that people can return to their homes in this troubled land," he said.