Russia to quit START if no change in US stance
Sergey Ryabkov heads the Russian side of the US-Russia working group that deals with issues of global security, arms control, missile defense, etc.
Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin says the US seems to be surrounding Russia with military installations “like an anaconda”. Ryabkov confirmed that Moscow never made it a secret that it is definitely disturbed because of the instability created by the American plans to deploy anti-missile assets in Europe and other parts of the world.
In this regard, Russia simply cannot go for further cuts of strategic offensive nuclear weapons “in the absence of a meaningful arrangement in the area of missile defense.”
“It would be very irresponsible to believe that we just move forward in cuts in numbers off strategic weapons while advantages and even predominance of the US and NATO parties as a whole in other areas just grow,” Sergey Ryabkov shared. “It will overstretch the very concept of strategic stability.”
According to Ryabkov, “Russia is not rushing into any dramatic decisions,” but if the situation develops in a negative way, Russia will consider withdrawing from the New START treaty.
There is still hope a deal could be reached between Moscow and Washington, but as of now, “we are not seeing any changes in the American position,” Ryabkov said.
Washington says it has Iran in mind when unfolding the missile defense shield in Europe. Sergey Ryabkov believes that “Iran’s missile capabilities are hugely exaggerated by the US.”
America’s attitude to the Iranian issue is “one-dimensional,” Ryabkov said. The US pretends it would be able to engage Iran diplomatically, but what they do is only mounting new sanctions on top of others.
“I do not believe that this is the right way to go,” Ryabkov insisted. “I do not believe the Iranian party would ever offer any concessions under that much pressure.”
Russia’s deputy FM pointed out that “the sanctions policy has exhausted its meaning and simply make no sense to continue this way.”
The plan proposed by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is much more realistic, because it proposes compromise, Ryabkov argued.
He said Russia is doing its best to indulge the US and Israel to restrain from using force against Iran.
“Attack on Iran would be a real catastrophe,” Ryabkov predicted.