Biden raises election meddling with Putin in first phone call

Biden raises election meddling with Putin in first phone call
Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: US President Joe Biden has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin about election meddling in the US in their first phone call as counterparts, the White House says.

The conversation between the two leaders included a discussion about the ongoing opposition protests in Russia and an extension of the last remaining US-Russia nuclear arms pact.

Russian statement says Mr Putin congratulated the new US president on winning the election.

Both countries said they agreed to maintain contact moving forward.

Former President Donald Trump sometimes undercut his own administration’s tough posture on Russia and was accused of being too deferential to Mr Putin.

But former President Barack Obama was also criticised for failing to check the Kremlin as it annexed Crimea, invaded eastern Ukraine and muscled in on Syria.

After the Biden-Putin phone call, a US statement said: “President Biden made clear that the United States will act firmly in defence of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies.”

A White House readout of Tuesday afternoon’s call said that the two leaders also discussed the massive SolarWinds cyber-attack, which has been blamed on Russia, reports that the Kremlin placed bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan, and the poisoning of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny.

The Kremlin readout of the conversation did not refer to any points of friction the White House said had been raised by president Biden, who has in the past referred to Mr Putin as “a KGB thug”.

Russian officials said their president had “noted that the normalisation of relations between Russia and the United States would meet the interests of both countries and – taking into account their special responsibility for maintaining security and stability in the world – of the entire international community”.

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