Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (Photo Credit: Valery Sharifulin/TASS)

The first telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden was initiated by Moscow, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“It was Russia’s initiative,” he pointed out. According to Peskov, Moscow suggested a conversation for Putin to congratulate Biden on taking office as US president and for the parties “to discuss the most pressing issues, the main one being the ratification of an agreement on extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) and the very extension of the treaty for five years.”

The Russian presidential spokesman noted that experts had already prepared the necessary documents.

In their first telephone conversation, Putin and Biden discussed pressing bilateral and international issues, including cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and other areas, including trade and economy. The Russian and US leaders also welcomed the exchange of notes on extending New START between the two countries.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing on Tuesday that it was Biden who had called Putin.