WH Press Sec Jen Psaki says Biden told Putin in their first call 'to RELEASE Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny'

JOE Biden asked Vladimir Putin to "release Alexander Navalny" during a difficult first phone call, the White House has confirmed.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki today said during Biden's first phone call with the Russian leader, the president called for the immediate release of the Russian opposition leader.

Navalny was immediately arrested and detained upon arrival back in Russia from Germany earlier this month.

Fielding questions at a press conference on Friday, when asked if Biden called for Navalny's release Psaki said: "Yes, as we have publicly…as our team has repeatedly called for during the course of the last several weeks.

"In terms of the specifics, I don'ty have anymore details for you on that."

When the reporter then asked if President Putin had made any promises, Psaki responded: "I don't have anything to read out on President Putin's comments."

Anti-corruption campaigner Navalny was led away by cops after he flew back to Moscow from Berlin with his wife on January 17.

The brave opposition leader had been recovering in Germany after a Novichok nerve agent attack five months ago.

Last weekend saw anti-Putin demonstrations take place across Russia in temperatures as low as -15C – with police forcibly detaining supporters of Navalny.

More than 3,500 demonstrators were detained in the protests with several injured in clashes with police in the capital Moscow.

Several of Navalny's allies were detained following police raids on their apartments and offices hours before the verdict and in the run-up to Sunday's rally at the FSB security service's Moscow HQ.

On Thursday, Psaki said Biden brought up several difficult issues between the two nations in their first phone call.

“He did not hold back in conveying his concern about the treatment of Alexei Navlany and his treatment of protesters,” Psaki told reporters.

She described how Biden “had never held back as it relates to President Putin or his concerns about the actions of the Russian government and he certainly conveyed that clearly in the call.”

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