Biden presses Putin on massive cyber hack and arrest of Alexei Navalny in first call

US president Joe Biden reportedly pressed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin about the cyber-hack scandal and Alexei Navalny's arrest in their first call.

Biden raised concerns to Putin over his country's alleged involvement in the previous US election, and the arrest of Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and Putin’s fiercest critic earlier this month, according to AP News.

The Kremlin reportedly reached out for the call last week which Biden agreed to but wanted to prepare his staff and speak with other European leaders beforehand.

It has also been claimed that Biden challenged Putin on the alleged  bounties on American troops in Afghanistan.

Biden allegedly told Putin that his administration was assessing the SolarWinds breach and the press allegations that Russia offered the Taliban bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan.

He made it clear that the US is willing to defend itself and will take action, which could include further sanctions, to ensure that Moscow does not act with impunity, the report continues.

But despite Biden's alleged firm stance towards Putin, he also said he would like the country's to manage their differences without necessarily resolving or improving them.

He allegedly told the Kremlin leader that the opposing countries should New START, the last remaining U.S.-Russia arms control treaty, which is due to expire in early February.

US officials have expressed confidence in reaching a deal, which would provide transparency into each nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Biden yesterday told reporters he hoped the US and Russia could cooperate in areas where both see benefit.

He said: "I find that we can both operate in the mutual self-interest of our countries as a New START agreement and make it clear to Russia that we are very concerned about their behavior, whether it’s Navalny, whether it’s SolarWinds or reports of bounties on heads of Americans in Afghanistan."

US ambassador to Poland  Daniel Fried agreed with Biden's hardline stance towards Russia and the extension of the New START agreement.

He said: "They’re going to have to figure this out on the fly, but it’s important to pursue New START without hesitation and push back on the Navalny arrest and other issues without guilt.

"They need to do both and not let Putin tell them he won’t accept New START unless they drop Navalny, SolarWinds or Afghanistan. You have to push back and you can’t let Putin set the terms."

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