WASHINGTON— On Thursday, July 23, President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a phone call in which they discussed COVID-19, arms control negotiations, and other matters. 

White House spokesman Judd Deere stated: “President Trump and President Putin discussed efforts to defeat the coronavirus pandemic while continuing to reopen global economies. The two leaders also discussed critical bilateral and global issues.”

President Trump and Putin touched on the issue of New START. New START, also known as the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, is the one bilateral treaty standing between the U.S. and Russia. It took effect in 2011 to limit the use of nuclear warheads, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and other weapons. It is set to expire in early 2021 and each wants to renew it with China added.

President Trump reiterated his hope of avoiding an expensive three-way arms race between China, Russia, and the United States and looked forward to progress on upcoming arms control negotiations in Vienna,” said Deere.

The leaders then talked about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal. Iran signed a nuclear agreement with China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and the EU in 2015. It required Iran to scale back its nuclear program and downgrade its uranium reserves in exchange for lifting on sanctions. However, the U.S. withdrew from it and reintroduced sanctions on Tehran in 2018. Trump and Putin agreed on the necessity for a collective effort to maintain stability in the region. 

When Trump last spoke to Putin in early June, it was to express his want to have Russia invited to the G7 summit. This was met with opposition by other members of the group. Trump later postponed the G7 meeting until at least September.