Russia has poured cold water on U.S. President Barack Obama’s pledge to pursue new cuts in the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals even as it voiced its readiness to study American proposals.
Moscow made it clear that it would say ‘no’ Washington’s proposal to slash nuclear weapons by 60 per cent, from the current goal of 1,550 deployed warheads by 2018 — outlined in the New START the two countries signed in 2010.
After Mr. Obama announced in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday that the U.S. would “engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals”, White House officials said they were looking to cut deployed nuclear weapons to “just above 1,000”.
However, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow to will not agree to further nuclear arms reductions with the U.S. until the two countries have “fully implemented” the New START and unless Washington shifts its stance on missile defence, nuclear tests, weaponisation of outer space, and conventional arms in Europe.
“Once the [New START] Treaty has been implemented, we would be ready to discuss possible further steps in the sphere of nuclear disarmament,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in comments posted on the Ministry’s website on Thursday. “In doing that, we will take into consideration all factors affecting strategic stability, including plans for the deployment of a U.S. global missile defence, lack of progress in ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty by the U.S. and 44 more countries…, unwillingness to renounce the deployment of weapons in space, imbalances in the quantity and quality of conventional weapons in Europe and other factors.”