There is no more obvious villain in the world today than Vladimir Putin. Sure, there are leaders out there who are a little crazier, like Kim Jong Un of North Korea, but none are as sublimely slimy as ol’ Vlad. And US President Joe Biden knows it.
Putin has long looked to meddle in the affairs of other sovereign nations, which has made him more than a few enemies here in the United States. Donald Trump’s handling of the Putin problem received a great deal of criticism, but, if we’re being honest, was there any part of the Trump presidency that wasn’t picked apart into a million tiny complaints?
During his first phone call with Putin, Joe Biden turned up the heat significantly.
President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday afternoon, expressing U.S. objections to a variety of Kremlin actions, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.
Psaki told reporters at Tuesday’s press briefing that the call was scheduled to take place as she was behind the podium fielding press questions.
Biden called intending to raise concern about a suspected Russian SolarWinds hacking campaign that breached Justice Department email accounts, reports of Russian bounties reportedly placed on American troops and interference in the 2020 election, Psaki said. The president also intended to raise his concerns about the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the Kremlin’s recent treatment of peaceful protesters demonstrating in support of him, the press secretary said.
But it wasn’t all tension and posturing, either.
The two leaders agreed to “work urgently” to extend the nuclear treaty by Feb. 5, when the deal is slated to expire, according to the Biden administration’s readout of the call. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty limits the two nation’s deployed nuclear weapons to 1,550 each.
“They also agreed to explore strategic stability discussions on a range of arms control and emerging security issues,” the readout said.
Putin and Biden also agreed to remain in “consistent” contact, according to those with knowledge of the conversation.
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