White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed with reporters Friday Biden urged Russian President Putin to release Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny during a call, Reuters reported.
“Yes, as we have publicly, as our team has repeatedly called for through the course of the last several weeks. In terms of the specifics of the conversation, I don’t have any more details for you on that,” Psaki said to reporters when asked whether Biden had directly called for Navalny’s release on the call with Putin, Reuters reported.
“The President spoke with President Putin earlier this week as you know and he did not hold back in his concerns about a number of actions by the Kremlin and the Russian government,” including the alleged poisoning of Navalny, Psaki told reporters during a Friday press briefing.
When asked whether Biden has plans to sanction Russia in retaliation for the alleged assassination attempt, Psaki declined to share any pertinent details about Biden’s plan. (RELATED: REPORT: Ally Of Jailed Putin Critic Flawlessly Plays Beethoven On Piano Amid Arrest By Russian Police)
“There is a review underway, which we have spoken about in here, by our national security team” which includes the SolarWinds cyber hack and Navalny’s poisoning, Psaki told reporters at the briefing. Psaki also did not confirm if Biden personally holds Putin responsible for the assassination attempt.
Navalny was arrested in January at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport after returning to Russia after a failed alleged assassination-by-poison attempt, the Daily Caller reported.
His arrest spurred mass anti-Kremlin protests which have resulted in the arrest of more than 1,600 protestors, the Daily Caller reported.
In addition to sweeping protests within Russia, political officials in the U.S. have shown support, demanding his release. Earlier this week Democratic Rep. Bill Keating of Massachusetts declared Congress stands with the Russian people in a tweet.
We in Congress stand with the Russian people and their brave efforts to stand up for human rights and the rule of law in their country. Russia must free @navalny and stand for human rights. #FreeNavalny @mfa_russia https://t.co/bxPlaYvwy8
— Congressman Bill Keating (@USRepKeating) January 23, 2021
Earlier this week Biden tasked his administration with extending the New START arms control pact, which would limit the number of deployable strategic missile systems between Russia and the U.S. to 1,550, Reuters reported. The pact is set to expire on Feb. 5.
In addition, Biden’s Tuesday call touched upon other issues including 2020 election interference as well as the alleged bounties placed on the heads of U.S. soldiers in the Middle East, which evolved into a short-lived scandal during the Trump administration, the Daily Caller reported.
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