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Pandemic, Oil, And Arms Control Dominate Trump, Putin Phone Call

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone on May 7, discussing arms control, oil prices, and the global coronavirus pandemic, according to the White House and the Kremlin.

The presidents also discussed the upcoming 75th anniversary of the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

The Kremlin said in a statement that the two leaders emphasized “the historic significance of the World War II alliance between our peoples that allowed [us] to defeat the common enemy.”

The White House reported that Trump “reaffirmed that the United States is committed to effective arms control that includes not only Russia, but also China.”

The only remaining bilateral nuclear-arms agreement still in force is the 2010 New START treaty. The agreement limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers. It also includes rigorous on-site inspection provisions.

But it is set to expire in February 2021 unless the two sides agree to extend it by five more years.

Russia has agreed to an extension, but the Trump administration has called for a new treaty that would include China.

Beijing has said China is not interested in participating in such talks.

The two presidents also reportedly discussed efforts to further stabilize oil prices, which have plummeted as global consumption was sharply reduced because of measures taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The White House statement said that Trump informed Putin that “the United States is working hard to care for Americans at home” in response to the pandemic and “is also ready to provide assistance to any country in need, including Russia.”

It was not reported whether Putin asked for any assistance.

As of May 7, Russia had officially reported 177,160 cases of coronavirus infection and 1,625 fatalities. The United States has reported 1.27 million infection cases and 75,587 deaths.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and Interfax
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