White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the conversation touched on the fate of Alexei Navalny.
Presidential National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke by telephone with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev on Monday, National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horn said.
According to her statement, Sullivan and Patrushev discussed a number of bilateral issues, as well as regional and global problems. They also discussed the prospect of a U.S.-Russia presidential summit and agreed to maintain further contact.
In a Monday briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the conversation also touched on Russian authorities’ handling of Alexei Navalny.
She recalled President Biden’s recent statements regarding the fate of the Russian opposition leader and stressed that the U.S. and continues to demand his release.
“I recall that during his first conversation with President Putin, President Biden raised a number of issues, including the treatment of Navalny. On March 2, the U.S. announced, in coordination with several key allies and partners, our response to Russia’s use of chemical weapons to poison Alexei Navalny,” Jen Psaki said.
She added that the Russian government “is responsible for what is happening to the Russian opposition leader, and that it will be held accountable to the international community.”
“As National Security Adviser Sullivan said – he said just yesterday – we’re not going to communicate our response. If Mr. Navalny dies, there will be consequences for the Russian government, and we reserve that option,” she added.
The spokeswoman noted that in demanding Navalny’s release, Washington is coordinating with its European allies.
Referring to Navalny’s deteriorating health, Psaki reiterated that while he is in custody, the responsibility for his life and health lies with the Russian leadership.
“For now, our task is to continue (exerting) pressure (aimed at) his release and to express again and again our conviction that he should be treated humanely,” Psaki said.