Home » Russia Names Condition for Returning to Nuclear Pact With U.S.

Russia Names Condition for Returning to Nuclear Pact With U.S.

Russia does not intend to budge on its decision to suspend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) unless the United States changes its “fundamentally hostile policy” toward Moscow, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in February that his country was going to stop observing the New START treaty, effectively blocking the U.S. and NATO from inspecting Moscow’s nuclear facilities. Washington returned the favor around a month later after Russia failed to share data regarding its nuclear arsenal by the end of March and announced that the U.S. would also not be sharing such information.

But as tensions continue to grow over the war in Ukraine, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden indicated this month that the White House was ready to talk with Russia “without conditions” about the future of a nuclear arms treaty, reported the Associated Press (AP). White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also promised that Washington would adhere to the New START treaty until it expires in February 2026, but only if Moscow kept up its end of the deal.

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, who spoke with the Russian state news site TASS on Thursday, conversations between the two adversaries regarding New START have occurred “in the past weeks and months, including direct ones, which weren’t about exchanging public statements.”

However, Ryabkov added that Russia was no longer in contact with the White House about the treaty, and that during the “exchange of views, the parties confirmed their opposing, irreconcilable positions.”

“The suspension of New START remains in effect and this decision may be revoked or reconsidered only if the U.S. demonstrates a willingness to abandon its fundamentally hostile policy toward the Russian Federation,” Ryabkov told the outlet.

Ryabkov’s statements come the same day that Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry of Affairs, indicated that Russia hadn’t completely ruled out using nuclear weapons to defend itself in “extraordinary” situations.

“Russia’s nuclear deterrence policy is strictly defensive,” Zakharova said during a news briefing. “The hypothetical use of nuclear weapons is clearly limited by extraordinary circumstances within the framework of strictly defensive purposes.”

Zakharova also said during the briefing that Russia would return to the New START treaty “only if Washington shows the political will and exerts efforts to ease tensions and de-escalate and create conditions for the resumption of the full functioning of the treaty.”

Newsweek has reached out to the White House press team via email Thursday afternoon for comment.

According to Ryabkov, Russia and the U.S. “reaffirmed” their intentions to comply with the quantitative limits outlined in New START during the recent period of “sporadic communication sessions.” There was also an agreement to “continue exchanging notifications of ground-based ballistic missiles” as laid out in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed in 1988, Ryabkov said.

In 2019, however, the administration of then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the INF Treaty after saying that Moscow was no longer complying with its terms.

Source: newsweek