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US President Joe Biden has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin about election meddling, the White House has said.
In his first presidential call to Russia, Biden raised numerous matters, including election interference and claims of Russia putting bounties on the heads of US soldiers in Afghanistan, as well as the ongoing opposition protests in Russia.
A statement from the White House read: "President Biden reaffirmed the United States' firm support for Ukraine's sovereignty.
"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 defence 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."
Elsewhere, the leaders agreed to extend the New START for five years, meaning that both countries agree to having no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers.
So, that's good news, eh?
The Kremlin said the call was 'business-like and frank'.
The statement added that Putin 'noted that the normalisation of relations between Russia and the United States would meet the interests of both countries and - taking into account their special responsibility for maintaining security and stability in the world - of the entire international community'.
Putin dragged his heels over congratulating Joe Biden after he defeated Donald Trump in November.
Weeks after Biden had been declared the winner, while Trump made baseless claims of election fraud, Putin kept schtum.
Speaking in November, the Russian President is quoted as saying: "We will work with anyone who has the confidence of the American people.
"But that confidence can only be given to a candidate whose victory has been recognised by the opposing party, or after the results are confirmed in a legitimate, legal way."
In fact, it wasn't until December, that Putin finally extended his congratulations to Biden following his win saying he was 'ready' to communicate with his American counterpart.
In a statement at the time, Putin is reported to have said: "For my part, I am ready for interaction and contact with you."
A statement, the Kremlin added: "Putin wished the president-elect every success and expressed confidence that Russia and the United States, which have a special responsibility for global security and stability, could, despite their differences, really help to solve the many problems and challenges facing the world."
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