BREAKING NEWS: Joe Biden has first call with Vladimir Putin and raised detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and warned he will consider sanctions over Solar Wind cyberhack and ‘bounties on U.S. troops’
- President Joe Biden has phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday
- Called to discuss renewing New START nuclear treaty
- Also raised ‘concerns’ including 2020 election interference
- Brought up clampdown on peaceful protests and Navalny poisoning, plus invasion of Ukraine
Among the most pressing concerns he brought up were the Russian state clampdown on peaceful protesters following the return of opposition figure Alexei Navalny to Russia.
Navalny is currently serving a 30-day prison sentence in Russia after leaving the country for medical care after being poisoned.
President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, the White House said. In this March 10, 2011, file photo, then-Vice President Joe Biden shakes hands with Putin when he was prime minister
Biden also raised Russian ‘interference in the 2020 election,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday at her daily press briefing, along with reports that Russia had placed ‘bounties’ on U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
Psaki said Biden initiated the call to pitch an extension of the New Start strategic nuclear treaty.
‘He called President Putin this afternoon with the intent of discussing our willingness to extent New START for five years. Also to reaffirm our strong support for Ukraine sovereignty in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression,’ she said, mentioning Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea.
She said Biden also called ‘to raise matters of concern’ and mentioned the solar winds hack on networks across the U.S. government, ‘reports of Russia placing bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 election, the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, and treatment of peaceful protesters by Russian security forces.’
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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden and Putin spoke during the course of her press briefing, which began around 12:30 pm
She said the call was also ‘to make clear that he United Staes will act firmly in defense of our national interests in response to malign actions by Russia,’ and promised a further readout.
She identified election interference as a concern she listed Monday, although Biden didn’t mention it when he was asked about Russia later Monday.
U.S. intelligence determined that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections, and top officials gave warning of ongoing actions this fall.
Word of Biden’s call follows a Trump administration where the president was reluctant to criticize Russia, even as his administration under congressional pressure imposed sanctions on Russian actors to protest the government’s actions.
Even after reporting this summer that the U.S. had intelligence of the Russian bounties, Trump failed to raise the issue with Putin when they had a call in July.
‘That was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly, that’s an issue that many people said was fake news,’ Trump told Axios at the time.
He said regularly during the 2016 campaign and afterward that it would be a good thing if the U.S. had better relations with Russia.
During his infamous Helsinki meeting with Putin, Trump appeared to accept his denials of interfering in the U.S. elections, despite what U.S. intelligence agencies concluded.