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Biden and Putin Agree To Extend New START Treaty in First Phone Discussion

Jan. 26 , 2021 (EIRNS)—U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone today, at the request of the U.S. side. “They discussed both countries’ willingness to extend New START for five years, agreeing to have their teams work urgently to complete the extension by Feb. 5,” reported the White House readout, referring to the date the Treaty would otherwise expire. “They also agreed to explore strategic stability discussions on a range of arms control and emerging security issues.” According to the Kremlin readout, both Biden and Putin expressed satisfaction with the preliminary agreement on the treaty’s extension. The formal procedures for the New START extension will be concluded in the coming days, the Kremlin said soon after the end of the Presidents’ conversation, reported Sputnik.

The two Presidents also discussed other topics. “President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty,” the White House readout said further. “He also raised other matters of concern, including the SolarWinds hack, reports of Russia placing bounties on United States soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 United States election, and the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny. President Biden made clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies. The two Presidents agreed to maintain transparent and consistent communication going forward.”

The Kremlin pointed out that “the presidents reviewed the U.S.’s unilateral withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty, the problem of preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program, the domestic settlement in Ukraine and the Russian initiative to hold a summit of the permanent members of the UN Security Council.”

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