Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov discussed climate change with US envoy John Kerry and the two agreed to cooperate further within the Arctic Council, the Russian foreign ministry said.

"During the conversation, questions were raised about the implementation of the Paris climate accord," the ministry said in a statement released late Saturday.

Lavrov told Kerry, a former secretary of state who is now the US climate envoy, that he "welcomed" the decision by new US president Joe Biden to rejoin the landmark Paris agreement on curbing global emissions of greenhouse gases.


Biden's predecessor Donald Trump had pulled out of the 2015 accord.

The two men also "underlined the need for as wide a cooperation as possible" in the area of the environment and agreed to "develop cooperation" within the Arctic Council, a high-level intergovernmental forum that addresses issues such as sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic region.

The telephone conversation came at a time when already strained relations between Russia and the West have been further exacerbated by the arrest and imprisonment of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny and Moscow's merciless crackdown on ensuing protests.

Earlier this month, Biden said the United States would no longer be "rolling over in the face of Russia's aggressive actions" and demanded Navalny's release.

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