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Biden Confronts Putin Over Several Issues in First Call, White House Says

A statement from the White House reads, “President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. They discussed both countries’ willingness to extend New START for five years, agreeing to have their teams work urgently to complete the extension by February 5.

They also agreed to explore strategic stability discussions on a range of arms control and emerging security issues. President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.

He also raised other matters of concern, including the Solar Winds hack, reports of Russia placing bounties on United States soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 United States election, and the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny.

President Biden made clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies. The two presidents agreed to maintain transparent and consistent communication going forward.”

A Kremlin statement about the call said their president had “noted that the normalisation of relations between Russia and the United States would meet the interests of both countries and – taking into account their special responsibility for maintaining security and stability in the world – of the entire international community”.

Former US President Trump sometimes undercut his own administration’s tough posture on Russia and was accused by some of being too deferential to Putin.
But former President Obama – under whom Biden served as vice-president – was also criticised for failing to check the Kremlin as it annexed Crimea, supported rebel forces in eastern Ukraine and muscled in on Syria.

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