Russia has rejected White House accusations that Moscow is to blame for the collapse of the planned resumption of New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New Start) negotiations, which were supposed to kick off this week and run into the next.
On Monday the United States said that Russia had “unilaterally postponed” the important nuclear arms control talks without explanation. But in a fresh statement the Kremlin said the American side is to blame for “lack of desire” to take seriously Russian priorities.
“We have encountered a situation where our American colleagues not only demonstrated a lack of desire to take note of our signals, acknowledge our priorities, but also acted in the opposite way,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a press briefing.
Ryabkov’s comments did suggest it was the Russian side that canceled, and further admitted that the Ukraine war makes the nuclear talks more difficult to resume, citing Washington’s immense weapons and foreign aid support to Kiev:
“Naturally, the events unfolding inside and around Ukraine in this case impact that,” he said.
A potential date for New START dialogue resumption remains uncertain. Ryabkov Russia will eventually propose new dates, but only when “the time is right.”
“The situation was developing in the way that left us no choice. The decision was made on the political level,” the Kremlin official explained further.
It was a mere weeks ago that the two sides finally agreed to restart the talks for the first time since Russia’s Ukraine invasion, given the growing international alarm over the increasing prospect of nuclear confrontation and accompanying rhetoric.
New START remains the last significant end of Cold War era agreement on nuclear arms control between Washington and Moscow. It is also one of the last hoped-for points of positive communications between the two sides, given spiraling relations over the Ukraine war.
The commission has not met in more than a year, in October 2021, with central aspects of the treaty since stalled due to attempts of the US to resume nuclear arsenal inspections on Russian soil, which Moscow rebuffed.