KREMLIN: Russia remains open to dialogue with the United States on arms control as it is “extremely important,” but Moscow is waiting for specific proposals from Washington, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
During a daily briefing, Peskov said it was “important and positive” that U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan recently said that the United States is ready to begin talks without preconditions with Russia on steps to limit nuclear arms after the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) expires in 2026.
“We hope that it will be supported by actual steps through diplomatic channels. And then it will be possible to consider the proposed formats of dialogue,” Peskov said.
“It is very difficult to rely on statements to the press on such an important and sensitive issue, especially when we are experiencing an acute shortage of mutual trust in our bilateral relations,” he said.
In February 2023, Russia officially suspended its participation in the New START with the U.S., saying that it has information that “certain figures in Washington” are considering nuclear weapon tests to develop new types of nuclear weapons.
“In this situation, the Russian Defense Ministry and Rosatom (Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation) must ensure readiness for testing Russian nuclear weapons. Of course, we will not be the first to do this. But if the United States conducts a test, then we will,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said while delivering his State of the Union address in February.
The New START, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty in force between the two nuclear superpowers, can be extended by a maximum of five years with the consent of the two countries. Russia and the United States officially extended the treaty by five years on February 3, 2021.