Amid Ukraine War, Russia "Ready" To Resume Strategic Arms Reduction Talks With US

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 - 01:45 PM

In the backdrop to Russia's invasion of Ukraine was a years-long breakdown in positive communications and relations between the US and Washington, set amid four years of Russiagate narratives stoked by the media during the Trump presidency. 

This period saw the collapse of multiple key end of Cold War era treaties, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty, as well as 'Open Skies' - as Washington pulled out. The 'New START' nuclear arms reduction treaty was also on the chopping block. 

In the lead up to the diplomatic back-and-forth and standoff sparked by Russia's amassing troops at the border with Ukraine, multiple Western security analysts stressed that the number one overarching issue currently between Russia and the US remains the placement of missiles and nuclear warheads in Europe

US Marine Corps photo 

It appears this is still high on the Kremlin's agenda, even amidst war in Ukraine, as on Saturday it issued a statement saying Russia is ready to dialogue with the US on key security issues, namely the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

"If the Americans are ready for this, we will, of course, be able to resume dialogue and are determined to do so, as well as to work on the START, where there is also a certain pause,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a televised statement, according to RIA Novosti.

"It all depends on Washington," he added. The statement comes as the West continues ratcheting up sanctions on Moscow to the point that the new regimen surpasses those sanctions previously in place against the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

According to a primer on START in CNN:

START limits the number of strategic offensive weapons both countries can have. The treaty limits each side to no more than 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and heavy bombers; no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and heavy bombers for nuclear armaments; and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers.

Ryabkov in his fresh Saturday comments blamed the US for the prior halt in dialogue: "We have not withdrawn from the US strategic stability dialogue. It has been suspended by Washington, apparently under the illusion that we need this dialogue more than Washington. Absolutely not," Ryabkov said.

In particular START I concerns those strategic nuclear weapons capable of being launched from a country's homeland to attack another's territory. As for 'New START', Presidents Biden and Putin extended that treaty for five years which started based on negotiations in 2021.

However, given the war in Ukraine - and the fact that any and all high-level dialogue between Moscow and Washington has now effectively collapsed - there are not likely to be any arms talks anytime soon.