In his first appeal to President Vladimir Putin since joining the White House, Joe Biden confirmed the extension of a major nuclear weapons deal and listed a number of uncomfortable issues for his Russian colleague.
According to Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki, the American asked Putin about the poisoning and imprisonment of opponent Alexei Navalni, which sparked the biggest protests in Russia since 2017 last Saturday (23).
Biden also wanted to know if the Kremlin was involved in the great hacker attack on U.S. government agencies, which took place in late 2020 and attributed to the Russians by the Donald Trump administration.
The American asked about reports that Russia paid mercenaries in Afghanistan to attack Washington targets in the country, which the Kremlin had previously denied, and expressed its desire for a sovereign Ukraine.
Since 2014, when a coup to overthrow the pro-Kremlin government in Kiev, Putin annexed Crimea and maintains his support for rebels in eastern Ukraine, causing instability that prevents absorption of the neighbor. by western structures like NATO (western military alliance).
Moscow’s relations with the West have since deteriorated, with sanctions applied to the Russians and the highest level of military tension since the Cold War. Although Trump was seen as sympathetic to Putin, nothing has progressed in this area.
Also on Tuesday, the American met with Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General. He reaffirmed his commitment to the principle of collective defense of the club if any of its members were attacked, a message to Russia after years of Trump’s contempt for the alliance.
Democrat Biden, like his former boss Barack Obama, has spoken of being tougher on Russia than Republicans. This is why the laundry list is listed by your spokesperson.
But talking thick is one thing. In practice, what was tangible in the conversation was confirmation of good news: the five-year extension of the Novo Start Strategic Nuclear Weapons Limitation Agreement, which places a cap of 1,550 operational warheads from each. side.
He would win on February 5, and was about to expire because Trump maintained an aggressive atomic bomb policy: he ordered the use of a new model, less powerful and in theory more easily usable and left two other agreements aimed at reducing a confrontation with Moscow.
For Biden, extending the New Start is an easy way to clear the table before dealing with more complex issues externally, such as his conflicted relationship with China, and internally, especially the pandemic crisis.
Thus, the courage expressed by the White House must be taken with caution. The Kremlin’s statement on the case, released by the Tass agency, was much more terse.
Military analysts see a victory for Putin with the fresh start, as Americans pushed to expand the nuclear weapons inspection regime, eyeing new models developed by Moscow in recent years.