Russia Gives Frosty Review of First Joe Biden-Vladimir Putin Call

The Kremlin has warned that a U.S.-Russia diplomatic reset is not on the cards after the first call between President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin, in which the new commander-in-chief set out a list of American grievances with its strategic rival.

Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov gave a lukewarm review of the call to journalists on Wednesday, noting that there remain many topics on which Moscow and Washington do not see eye-to-eye.

"Conditions haven't been created yet to reset," Peskov said, according to Russia's state-run Tass news agency.

He added: "It's enough that the presidents took note of a rather large number of serious disagreements and emphasized the need to maintain dialogue."

Peskov's remarks came despite Moscow's announcement that Russia and the U.S. had reached a deal to extend the New START arms control treaty, which had been due to lapse next month. Moscow had long pushed for an extension, but the administration of former President Donald Trump had refused to discuss one.

Peskov went on: "There is no reason to talk about resetting relations at the moment."

Biden is expected to take a harder line with Moscow than his predecessor, who was regularly accused of failing to hold Putin to account for human rights abuses, covert operations abroad and militarism.

A White House readout of Biden's call said the new president had raised a series of contentious issues with his Russian counterpart. "President Biden reaffirmed the United States' firm support for Ukraine's sovereignty," the readout said.

"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 White House statement went on. "The two presidents agreed to maintain transparent and consistent communication going forward."

Biden has vowed to put democracy and human rights at the center of his foreign policy, which will undoubtedly bring him into conflict with Putin's authoritarian government.

The new administration has already demanded the release of Navalny, who was jailed on his return from Germany where he had gone to recover from an assassination attempt in August. Reports indicate that the Russian FSB secret service was responsible for his poisoning.

Peskov said on Wednesday that Putin had "provided all necessary explanations" to Biden when questioned on Navalny.

Vladimir Putin pictured in Moscow for WEF
Russia's President Vladimir Putin addresses the virtual World Economic Forum via a video link from Moscow on January 27. MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images/Getty