Biden spoke about the arrest of Alexey Navalny, in Ukraine, and reports of bounties on U.S. soldiers, the White House said.
United States President Joe Biden spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since taking office, raising concerns about Russian activities, including the treatment of jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, a declared the White House.
Biden said he would take a harder line against Russia than former President Donald Trump, in particular by strengthening ties with European allies within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which is supposed to serve as a bulwark against Russian aggression.
After the call with Putin, the White House and the Kremlin issued statements saying the leaders had extended the new arms control treaty START for five years, which limits the deployment of strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550 for each. nuclear weapons. countries.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden also spoke of the “poisoning” of Navalny, who was evacuated to Germany after being exposed to the Soviet-era nervous agent Novichok in Siberia, and to the crackdown on his supporters, who took to the streets across the country on Saturday.
Biden also expressed “strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.” He raised “other matters of concern” including the so-called SolarWinds hack by US agencies, reports last year that Russia gave bounties to US soldiers in Afghanistan and Russian interference in the 2020 elections.
“His intention was also to make it clear that the United States will act firmly to defend our national interests in response to Russia’s malicious actions,” Psaki said.
The Kremlin, for its part, said Putin told Biden that a normalization of relations between Moscow and Washington would be in the interests of both countries. He added that the two leaders also discussed the Open Skies Treaty, which the United States withdrew under Trump, and Iran’s nuclear program.
The call came days after the US State Department condemned Russia for a crackdown on Navalny supporters. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia accused the United States to “meddle” in internal affairs.
Call with NATO
Biden spoke to Putin shortly after hanging up on the phone with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Trump had openly criticized NATO during his tenure, he reportedly considered leaving the alliance at one point and argued that the United States was overpaying its direct contributions to the military alliance.
In Tuesday’s appeal, Biden sought to redress strained relations between the United States and Europe by stressing that Washington would abide by the NATO treaty mutual defense pact, the White House said in a statement.
“President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to collective defense under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and underscored its commitment to strengthening transatlantic security,” the statement said, se referring to the article that NATO members will see a member country as an attack on all, and take collective action.
Biden’s phone call with Stoltenberg came a day after speaking with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“The President thanked the [NATO] Secretary General for his steadfast leadership of the alliance, and has signaled his intention to consult and work with allies on the range of shared security issues, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Russia ”, indicates the White House press release.