As the US and Russia are preparing to hold security talks in January, Russian officials continue to criticize Washington’s military posture. On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov accused the US of lowering the threshold for the possible use of nuclear weapons.
"We in Moscow are committed to raising the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. An opposite trend has been seen in the United States over the recent years, with the means for nuclear destruction appearing to be perceived more and more as a battlefield weapon. This is a dangerous trend," Ryabkov said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
Ryabkov warned the US attitude towards nuclear weapons risks leading to an incident similar to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, something he said must not happen.
Russian leaders have repeatedly warned the US against deploying missiles to Ukraine that could target Moscow and are seeking guarantees that Washington would refrain from such a provocation.
Ryabkov said Russia wants to resolve these issues through negotiations. "Today, as it seems to me, political and diplomatic tools should be used first and foremost to settle this situation," he said. Ryabkov added that Russia outlined "how to settle" these issues in the security proposals it submitted to the US.
Like other Russian officials, Ryabkov stressed that the US must take its security proposals seriously. Also on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said talks on the proposals will begin immediately after Russia’s new year holiday season, which lasts through January 9th.
"It is with the US that we will carry out the main work of negotiations, which will take place immediately after the new year holidays end," Lavrov said.