US President Joe Biden in his first phone call with Vladimir Putin since taking office raised concerns with the Kremlin leader over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and Russian "aggression" against Ukraine, the White House said Tuesday.
Biden placed the call in order to discuss with Putin "our willingness to extend" for five years the New START nuclear weapons treaty, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
He also brought up "our strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty in the face of Russia's ongoing aggression," Psaki said.
Biden raised other "matters of concern, including the Solar Winds hack, reports of Russia placing bounties on United States soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 election, the poisoning of Alexei Navalny and treatment of peaceful protesters by Russian security forces."
Psaki said Biden's "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."
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