Biden walking a high wire with Russia ahead of Putin call

Biden walking a high wire with Russia ahead of Putin call
In this March 10, 2011, file photo, then-Vice President Joe Biden, left, shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: US President Joe Biden has been quickly thrown into a high-wire balancing act with his counterpart in Russia as he seeks to toughen his administration’s stand against President Vladimir Putin while preserving room for diplomacy in a post-Donald Trump era.

The relationship between the two nations is sure to be different from the one Putin enjoyed with Donald Trump, who was enamored of the Russian leader and sought his approval, casting doubt on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections and involvement in a massive hack last year. Despite this conciliatory approach, Joe Biden’s administration toed a tough line against Russia, imposing sanctions on the country, Russian business leaders and companies for issues ranging from Ukraine to energy supplies and attacks on dissidents.

Unlike his immediate predecessors, Biden has not held out hope for a “reset” in relations with Moscow but has instead indicated that he wants to manage differences with the former Cold War foe without necessarily resolving them or improving relationships.

And, with looming decisions needed on China and Iran and a heavy domestic agenda, a direct confrontation with Russia is not something he seeks.

When Joe Biden first speaks with Vladimir Putin, he’s expected to call Putin out for the arrest of a vocal critic of the Russian president and opposition figure Alexei Navalny and the weekend crackdown on his supporters, raise charges that Russian security services were behind the recent massive cybersecurity breach, and press allegations that Russia offered the Taliban bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan.

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