Biden says U.S. concerned about Russia treatment of Navalny

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about administration plans to strengthen American manufacturing during a brief appearance in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday the United States is concerned about Russia’s treatment of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny while also seeking an extension of the New START nuclear weapons agreement with Russia.

“We can both operate in the mutual self-interest of our country 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 the Solar Winds, or whether it’s reports about bounties on the heads of Americans in Afghanistan,” he told reporters.

His mention of Solar Winds was a reference to a massive cyber hack that hit the United States that has been blamed on Moscow. On Afghanistan, he referred to reports that Russians offered bounties to Taliban fighters for killing Americans in Afghanistan.

Reporting By Alexandra Alper and Steve Holland; Editing by Chris Reese