Russia sees no possibility of resuming talks with Washington on the cornerstone New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) arms control treaty while the US continues to arm Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.
Speaking in a live interview on radio Sputnik, Maria Zakharova said: “The US intends to supply even more weapons to the conflict region, in which the Russian Federation is directly involved. That is, they will supply all these weapons, they will encourage the Kiev regime to cause even more bloodshed, they will allocate money for extremist activities that are carried out under the auspices of these delusional people [in the Ukrainian presidency], and we will sit with them at the same table and discuss issues of mutual security with them, including those in their interest?”
The spokeswoman stressed that Moscow values the New START agreement, as it serves the best interests of both Russia and the US, adding that the necessary conditions must be met before talks can be resumed.
Russian and American diplomats were set to meet in Cairo on Tuesday for a new round of talks on prolonging the deal, set to expire in early 2026. The meeting, however, was called off shortly before it was set to happen, with no new date announced.
“The event is being postponed to a later date,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday. Meanwhile, CNN has quoted the US State Department as saying Washington was ready to hold talks at the earliest possible date, and considered that “resuming nuclear inspections under the New START treaty is a priority.”
.@Whitehouse NSC spokesman John Kirby had something more substantive to say about the Russian decision to pull out of New START consultations in Cairo (all but confirming that Russia wanted to talk about Ukraine at the talks, and the US said no). pic.twitter.com/wsMQ4Jmc5t
— Mike Eckel (@Mike_Eckel) November 30, 2022
New START, signed back in 2010, is effectively the last arms control agreement between the two major nuclear powers following Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in 2019. The pact limits the number of nuclear warheads that the US and Russia can possess, and restricts the number of deployed silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and nuclear bombers. The total number of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles must not exceed 800.
Russia suspended the inspection regime under the treaty back in August, blaming the move on Western sanctions that had prevented Russian inspectors from doing their work in the US and giving Washington an unfair advantage. Moscow said the inspection could resume only when the principles of parity and equality were restored.
RT story with additional input by Global Village Space News Desk.