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Globe Live Media, Tuesday, January 26, 2021
US President Joe Biden had his first telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, citing concern over the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and pressuring his counterpart about the country’s involvement in a massive cyber espionage campaign. and rewards for the deaths of US soldiers in Afghanistan, said two senior officials in Wasnington.
Biden tries to establish a clear separation from the friendly rhetoric often shown towards Putin by his predecessor Donald Trump. But the president also tried to make room for diplomacy, telling the Russian leader that the two countries must finalize a five-year extension of an arms control treaty before it expires early next month, according to officials who they were familiar with the matter but were not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Unlike Trump, Biden has not sought a readjustment of relations with Russia but has indicated that he wants to manage differences without necessarily resolving them or improving ties. And, with a loaded national agenda and pending decisions on Iran and China, a direct confrontation with Russia is not something you are looking for.
Moscow requested the call with Biden last week, according to officials. Biden agreed, but wanted first to prepare with his collaborators and speak with European allies, including the leaders of Great Britain, France and Germany.
And on Tuesday before his conversation with Putin, Biden spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, to whom he declared the United States’ commitment to the military alliance founded decades ago as a bulwark against the Soviet Union.
Biden told Putin that his administration was examining the SolarWinds breach and allegations in the press that Russia offered the Taliban payments for killing American soldiers in Afghanistan. Biden said the United States is willing to defend itself and will take steps, which could include sanctions, to ensure that Moscow does not act with impunity, according to officials.
A transcript of the call by the Kremlin was not immediately available.
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