Rare Bright Spot? Russia Mulling Face-To-Face Nuclear Arms Treaty Talks With US

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Sep 30, 2022 - 12:00 AM

Russia says it is mulling a face-to-face meeting with US officials in order to discuss the New START nuclear arms treaty (Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms). Amid heightened nuclear tensions related to the Ukraine war, in a rare moment of potential good news, given the prior collapse of several US-Russia Cold War era treaties which were meant to avoid confrontation between nuclear armed superpowers.

"Within the framework of the [advisory] commission, a remote discussion continues on what organizational and technical problems need to be addressed. Some of them have been removed, while others have made significant progress," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told a Thursday press briefing.

But she cited that "a number of significant difficulties remain: the implementation of the treaty's essentially routine measures is complicated by the unconstructive anti-Russian actions of the United States and its partners," according to state media.

 Russian RS-24 Yars strategic nuclear missile, via AFP

"They continue to introduce new sanctions prohibitions, impede the normal interaction of the parties. We will seek to resolve all problematic issues in the context of the implementation of the Treaty on an equal basis, taking into account our national interests," Zakharova said of the US administration.

In March 2021 the two sides renewed New START for a period of five years, and it will expire in February 2026 if it's not continued - an increasing possibility given US-Russia relations have deteriorated so fast they are near complete breaking point.

The treaty is intended to limit and reduce nuclear arms on either side, setting a limit of no more than 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 missiles. START I began in 1991, with New START signed under the Obama and Medvedev administrations in 2010 as a successor agreement.

Compliance inspections are part of the deal, but that's precisely a current issue of contention, given that last month Russia informed the US that it was temporarily suspending American inspections of its nuclear weapons sites under the 2010 treaty.

"On August 8, 2022, the Russian Federation officially informed the United States via diplomatic channels that our country is temporarily exempting its facilities from inspection activities under the New START Treaty," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in August, adding it also covers "facilities that can be used for demonstrations under the treaty.”