U.S. Defense Department Spokesmen John Kirby and State Department Spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday both decried disinformation spread by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, picked up by the Russian media, about Ukraine’s alleged provocation plot for Donbas involving U.S. private military companies.

“Those statements by Minister Shoigu are completely false,” Kirby told a press briefing on Tuesday. Answering a question, whether Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin had spoken with his Russian counterpart, Kirby said: “He has not talked to Minister Shoigu and I don’t have anything on his calendar to announce today.”

In turn, Ned Price, Spokesman for the Department of State, said it was precisely Russia that was responsible for the escalation.

“Contrary to statements from the Russian Defense Minister, Russia and its proxies are responsible for escalating tensions, not Ukraine or the United States,” he wrote on Twitter. “We call on Russia to stop using false, inflammatory rhetoric and take meaningful steps to de-escalate tensions to provide a positive atmosphere for discussions.”

As reported, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at a meeting of the board of the Russian Defense Ministry chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that Ukraine, together with the United States, was allegedly preparing a provocation in Donbas involving chemical weapons, claiming that an American PMC was also involved in the plot.