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15 Jun, 2023 16:57

Russia hints at terms for returning to New START nuclear deal

Any progress on arms control is possible only if the US gives up its “fundamentally hostile” policies, Russia’s deputy FM has said
Russia hints at terms for returning to New START nuclear deal

Moscow remains committed to its decision to suspend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which places limits on the US and Russian nuclear arsenals, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told TASS on Thursday.

The two sides of the cornerstone arms control deal have held a few discussions on the matter in recent months, the diplomat revealed. He said the discussions, however, have not yielded any tangible progress.

“During these exchanges of views, the parties reaffirmed their incompatible and opposing positions,” Ryabkov said.

The deputy minister explained that Russia’s stance on the New START treaty remains unchanged, and resumption of the deal would become possible only if the US drastically changed its attitude.

“The suspension of the New START remains in full force and any reversal of this decision and its revision is conceivable only if the US demonstrates its readiness to abandon its fundamentally hostile course towards Russia,” he stressed.

The New Start treaty, known in Russia as ‘SNV-III,’ was the last arms control pact between Moscow and Washington left standing after the US withdrawal from the INF and Open Skies treaties under former President Donald Trump.

The accord limits both nations’ nuclear stockpiles and enables them to monitor each other’s military installations to confirm compliance. The conflict in Ukraine effectively made such inspections impossible, with both sides blaming each other for failing to facilitate them.

The decision to suspend New START was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin back in February. At the same time, Putin confirmed that Moscow would continue to abide by the deal’s limits on deployed warheads.

During limited talks on New START, the US side also confirmed its willingness to maintain the “numerical limitations” on warheads imposed by the treaty, according to Ryabkov.

Apart from that, the two sides remain committed to notifying each other of strategic sea- and land-based ballistic missile launches, the minister stated. Such measures “more or less provide predictability and relative stability,” which is very important in the current “turbulent period,” Ryabkov suggested.