Censor.NET reports citing the Wall Street Journal.
The article reads: "When Russia started massing troops on the Ukraine border last year, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called his counterpart in Moscow to voice U.S. concerns.
"This year, as Russian cargo planes began flying military gear into Syria, Defense Secretary Ash Carter was in St. Louis, touring a plant of defense-contracting giant Boeing Co.
"The shift in styles means the Pentagon has taken a back seat to Secretary of State John Kerry in shaping relations with Russia-forgoing an important connection that in the past has been used to defuse tensions or express American discontent.
"During his two years in office, Mr. Hagel made his relationship with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu a priority. The two leaders spoke by phone four times last year as ties with Russia deteriorated. When Russian troops prepared to seize control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, Mr. Hagel was at the forefront of the American pushback.
"When it came to the crisis in Ukraine, the calls between Messrs. Hagel and Shoygu proved to be pointless. Mr. Shoygu denied Russia was sending troops into Crimea, even when it was clear that they were there.
"Over time, defense officials concluded that Mr. Shoygu was "ineffective or not being entirely truthful.
"In March 2014, the Pentagon suspended military relations with Russia to protest Moscow's intervention in Ukraine. That led to a halt in bilateral meetings, military exercises, port visits and planning conferences involving Russia. But Mr. Hagel didn't cut off contact completely. In August 2014, even after the suspension was in place, Mr. Hagel called Mr. Shoygu to express his concerns about Russian meddling in Ukraine. Mr. Hagel said he urged President Barack Obama to keep the lines of communication open because he saw no way for the U.S. to resolve the problems in the Middle East without Moscow.
"On Wednesday, there were signs of a possible shift in U.S. policy. Mr. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed a resumption in military connections between the two countries, and Pentagon officials were debating whether the time had come to lift the suspension," the article reads