US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, had a telephone conversation on Tuesday – the first after the former took office on January 20 – during which they confirmed their countries ’desire to extend the new START treaty to strategic disarmament for the next five years.
The two presidents agreed to direct their teams to work urgently to complete the extension process, no later than the fifth of next February.
White House spokeswoman Jane Psaki said that Biden spoke with Putin about US concerns about some Russian activities, including the treatment of detained dissident Alexei Navalny, and the conversation also dealt with Washington’s strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty over the Crimean peninsula.
Biden expressed in his speech his concern about the cyber attack, and reports of paying bonuses to fighters in Afghanistan for targeting US soldiers and affecting the US elections.
Biden made clear that Washington would act decisively to defend its national interests in response to any Russian actions that harm the United States or its allies.
Normalization of relations
For its part, the Kremlin reported that Putin affirmed his support for “the normalization of relations between Russia and the United States,” considering that “it meets the interests of the two countries and the interests of the international community, based on their own responsibility to maintain security and stability in the world.”
The statement added that the two presidents expressed satisfaction with the exchange of the two diplomatic notes regarding reaching an agreement on extending the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Disarmament.
And the White House had previously announced President Joe Biden’s intention to extend the Treaty on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Weapons “START-3” for a period of 5 years, a step welcomed by Russia and the United Nations.
Russian-American consultations over the extension of the treaty have stalled under the administration of former President Donald Trump.
The treaty expires on February 5, and it sets a ceiling for the number of strategic nuclear warheads for Russia and the United States, which should not exceed 1550 warheads for each party.