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After Putin’s initial snub, Biden talks nukes, cyberattack and poisoning with Russian leader

  • January 27, 2021

Putin initially refused to recognize Biden’s election win.

The agenda for the Biden-Putin conversation was long, running from areas of cooperation, such as nuclear arms control, to areas of contention, such as Russia’s military aggression toward Ukraine. 

During the campaign, Biden promised to take a tougher line with Putin than ex-President Donald Trump did.     

Then-Vice President Joe Biden shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia on March 10, 2011.

During their phone call, Biden and Putin discussed their shared goal of renewing an expiring U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control agreement, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters during a briefing on Tuesday. That major arms control pact expires on Feb. 5, so it’s an urgent matter. 

“They also agreed to explore strategic stability discussions on a range of arms control and emerging security issues,” the White House said in its read-out of the conversation.

SolarWinds cyberattack that breached several U.S. government agencies and private firms;interfere in U.S. elections, including its dissemination of disinformation about Biden and his son Hunter in the 2020 race;

• Reports that Russia offered bounties to militant extremists in Afghanistan to kill American soldiers; 

• Allegations that Putin ordered the poisoning of an opponent, Alexei Navalny, who was recently arrested in Russia after recovering from the attempted assassination. 

Biden’s intention was “to make clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of our national interests in response to malign actions by Russia,” Psaki said.

Putin’s spokesman has denied the Kremlin played a role in Navalny’s poisoning.

Putin was among the last major world leaders to acknowledge Biden’s victory in the Nov. 3 election, waiting until Dec. 15 – after the Electoral College certified the results – to wish the new president success and to welcome engagement. 

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