Jul 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

White House says Trump and Putin discussed virus, arms control on phone call

Putin and Trump

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the coronavirus pandemic and arms control on Thursday, the Kremlin announced and the White House later confirmed.

Why it matters: The phone call comes amid recent warnings that hackers associated with Russian intelligence services have tried to steal information from researchers working to develop a coronavirus vaccine. It also follows reports that the Kremlin paid Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan, which the White House has insisted is uncorroborated intelligence.

What they're saying: 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," White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in a press release.

The big picture: Russia is reporting the fourth-most coronavirus infections in the world behind India, Brazil and the U.S, although experts doubt the authoritarian regime's official tally.

Go deeper: Russia tests anti-satellite weapon in space

Go deeper