President Joe Biden had his first call with Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, the White House and Kremlin said. U.S. officials said Biden raised concerns about the arrest of opposition figure Alexei Navalny while pressing the Russian president on his nation’s involvement in a massive cyberespionage campaign and bounties on American troops in Afghanistan.
On a positive note, the two presidents agreed to have their teams work urgently to complete an extension of New START, the last remaining U.S.-Russian arms control treaty, before it expires next month.
“In the nearest days, the parties will complete the necessary procedures that will ensure further functioning” of the pact, the Kremlin said in its readout of the call.
Biden has looked to establish a break from the warm rhetoric often displayed toward Putin by his predecessor, Donald Trump. But the new president also is looking to preserve room for diplomacy.
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