New US President Joe Biden on Tuesday showed his firmness in his first exchange with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, despite their disarmament agreement and Moscow’s calls for “normalization” between the two rival powers.
US-Russian relations are at their lowest since the end of the Cold War, despite unsuccessful attempts at rapprochement by former US President Donald Trump.
His successor Joe Biden wants to be much more offensive.
Paradoxically, due to an ultra-tight schedule, this new chapter opens with a desire for dialogue: the New Start nuclear weapons limitation treaty, the last bilateral agreement of this kind, expires in ten days and Washington had announced as early as last week want to extend it.
On Monday, President Biden said he intended to both move forward on this urgent matter and raise his voice on other matters.
According to the White House, the two leaders “mentioned the desire of the two countries to extend New Start for five years, and agreed to make their teams work urgently for an extension by February 5”.
As early as Tuesday morning, the Kremlin had reported “energetic contacts” underway to “finalize the extension” which “is in the interest of both countries, as the whole world”. And Vladimir Poutine immediately took action by submitting to Parliament a bill to ratify this “agreement in principle”, if it is confirmed by the two countries.
The American Democrat also said he was ready to “consider discussions on strategic stability on a series of issues related to arms control and security.” He stands out on this ground from his Republican predecessor, who had not succeeded in renewing New Start – or not wanted to do so – and had withdrawn from other treaties.
Donald Trump had notably slammed the door with a bang of the international Iranian nuclear agreement, of which Moscow is one of the signatories.
– “Poisoning of Alexeï Navalny” –
The subject, on the menu of the phone call, should also be quite consensual, Joe Biden having promised to return to this agreement. But the modalities risk fueling tensions: Russia has asked the American government to take the first step, while the United States demands that Iran be the first to return to its commitments, which it has agreed to take. partially franked.
Beyond these subjects, the American president raised all the angry questions.
He thus “reaffirmed our firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of persistent Russian aggression,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Joe Biden also expressed his “concern” about the “poisoning of Alexey Navalny”, the Russian opponent arrested on January 17 upon his return to Russia after a five-month recovery in Germany, as well as ” treatment of peaceful demonstrators by Russian security forces “.
He then referred, according to his spokesperson, to the “interference in the 2020 election” in the United States, the recent giant cyberattack against American ministries attributed by Washington to Moscow, and information according to which Russia would have paid “bounties” to the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. So many subjects minimized by Donald Trump, despite the general indignation they arouse in the American political class.
“President Biden has made it clear that the United States will act decisively to defend our national interests in the face of Russian acts that would harm us or our allies,” the White House added in a statement.
In a separate appeal with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, he called for “strengthening transatlantic security” and pledged to “work with the allies”, especially to counter Russia.
As he does regularly, Vladimir Putin for his part said he supported “a normalization of relations between Russia and the United States”, which according to him “would meet the interests of both countries but also those of the entire international community, being given their special responsibility in maintaining security and stability in the world, “the Russian presidency reported.