- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 26, 2021

President Biden spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, marking the first time the two leaders have spoken since Mr. Biden took office last week.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr. Biden intended to discuss the renewal of a nuclear arms treaty, Ukrainian sovereignty, the recent SolarWinds hack, reports of bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and the arrest of Putin foe Alexei Navalny, among other subjects.

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

Unlike recent presidents, Mr. Biden doesn’t appear to be holding out much hope for a “reset” in U.S.-Russia relations.

Before Tuesday, Mr. Biden had spoken with leaders of traditional U.S. allies, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The White House also announced that Mr. Biden spoke by phone on Tuesday with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Mr. Biden told Mr. Stoltenberg that he wanted to work with allies on a “full range” of “shared security concerns,” “including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Russia,” according to the White House.

Mr. Stoltenberg’s office said the two discussed how to deal with a “more assertive Russia,” among other subjects.

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