Putin Talks With Biden: Discussions ‘Satisfactory’

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Russian President Vladimir Putin held the first call with new US President Joe Biden yesterday. The two have met personally before, when Biden was part of the US Presidential team in 2011 and was Vice-President under Obama. Details of that meeting can be seen here.

Yesterday’s discussions come nearly a decade later amid a much changed world, although primary among the talks were an agreement to extend the START Nuclear agreement for a further 5 years. Under the Trump Presidency, that deal looked far from certain and if not concluded, would have led to another nuclear weapons build up. Putin has passed this deal to the Russian State Duma to pass into law today. Both sides – and the rest of the world, including China, can breathe a sigh of relief that subject has been dealt with.

Elsewhere, Biden was predictable in his comments concerning Russian opposition leader Alexei Nalvany, currently sitting in prison in Moscow, the situation in Ukraine, where the United States views Russia as an aggressor, while Russian sees NATO’s involvement in similar terms, and alleged Russian computer hacking.

US media have predicted that the Biden administration would be ‘tough’ on Russia, although it remains uncertain how much tougher they wish to be. A short White House statement concerning the discussion can be seen here.

No details of any trade issues being discussed have been reported, while the Kremlin later issued a statement saying that “President Putin congratulated Biden on the start of his presidency. He noted that the normalization of relations between Moscow and Washington would meet the interests of both countries. In general, the conversation between the presidents of Russia and the United States was of a businesslike and frank nature.”

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