U.S., Russian Military Chiefs Meet

HELSINKI -- The top U.S. military officer met Tuesday with his Russian counterpart -- who led the invasion of Georgia -- in a signal of a thaw in relations between the two powers.

Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Nikolai Makarov discussed Georgia, missile defense and Russia-NATO relations, officials said.

The talks, at a secluded riverside mansion outside Helsinki, were the highest-level military meeting between the two countries since Russia's war with Georgia in August, which strained tense ties between Washington and Moscow.

Mullen later called U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, saying they had a "productive, businesslike conversation," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said in Washington, adding that Gates was pleased with the outcome.

Makarov told Itar-Tass that he and Mullen agreed to discuss military matters "periodically" by phone "and if necessary, in face-to-face talks."